Press Release / Dec. 19, 2013

Azerbaijan Anonymous: Response to Socar

In its statement regarding Global Witness’ report ‘Azerbaijan Anonymous’ Socar asserted that “There seems to be underlying tone in the Report to portray in a negative way and with envy the increasing influence of SOCAR”  and claims that the report “relies on inaccurate sources of information while some of the information used in the Report is false or outdated”. Global Witness is a non-governmental, non-partisan organisation that works to improve the transparency of companies and governments worldwide. To allege that Global Witness is somehow motivated by “envy” shows a serious misunderstanding of Global Witness work as an internationally renowned NGO that works in the public interest on transparency issues. Global Witness has over twenty years’ experience in investigating natural resource deals and was co-nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003.

All of Global Witness’ reports, including ‘Azerbaijan Anonymous’ are rigorously researched, fact-checked and referenced. Many of the sources for this report are annual accounts and other statements made by Socar and its subsidiaries or the Socar website itself. Further details of many of the deals mentioned in the report are included in an annex published on the Global Witness website.

Global Witness attempted to contact Socar, its subsidiaries and partners on numerous occasions starting in May 2013 and continuing until December 2013. In its response Socar did not address many of the questions we raised. We referred to and quoted from Socar’s response in the report, and we published Socar’s letter to us in full on our website.

Global Witness embarked on this research in order to show where Socar (and thus the Azerbaijani government), despite implementing the EITI, can raise their level of transparency. Global Witness is concerned that a lack of transparency in Azerbaijan’s oil sector may be allowing private individuals to benefit from an oil boom at the expense of the Azerbaijani people. As one of the world’s biggest oil producers and one of the first countries to sign up to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, it is vital that the Azerbaijani government takes steps to increase transparency further.

They can do this by agreeing to pilot an EITI scheme which requires the publication of the actual "beneficial" owners of companies involved in the country’s oil and gas sector. Disappointingly, Azerbaijan has so far failed to show any interest in piloting this scheme, unlike many other EITI implementing countries.

Global Witness would welcome dialogue with Socar on this matter.


Barnaby Pace, Assistant Oil Campaigner: Landline +44 207 492 5823, Mobile +447969 295 078

Tom Mayne, Senior Oil Campaigner: Landline +44 207 492 5864, Mobile +447939 460 357

Notes to Editor:

1. Global Witness published its report “Azerbaijan Anonymous” on 10th December 2013, it is available at

2. Socar published its response to Global Witness’ report on 13th December 2013, it is available at

3. Global Witness is an alternate board member representing civil society on the international board of the EITI.