The largest oil and gas event in the Caspian Region, the Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition and Conference, takes place from 4 to 7 June 2013, marking its 20th anniversary. Every year, the event attracts oil and gas industry leaders from around the world whose attention is fixed on Azerbaijan.The high profile of Caspian Oil & Gas is emphasised by participation in its opening ceremony from the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, who again sent a welcome letter to exhibitors and visitors for the official event catalogue this year. The Ministry of Industry and Energy of the Republic of Azerbaijan and SOCAR both provide invaluable support to the event. VIP guests at Caspian Oil & Gas 2013 include the Georgian Ministry of Energy Kakha Kaladze; Charles Hendry, UK Trade Envoy for Azerbaijan, UK Foreign Office; Gunnar Oom, State Secretary of the Swedish Ministry of Trade; Urban Rusnak, Secretary General, Energy Charter; Annageldi Mammetyazov, Deputy Minister of Petroleum Industry and Natural Resources of Turkmenistan; and others.This 20th anniversary edition of Caspian Oil & Gas brings together 386 companies from 28 countries, including oil and gas field developers and service providers. The exhibition is based in three pavilions of the Baku Expo Center and an outdoor space next to the complex. Germany, China, Russia, Turkey and the UK will present national groups.Compared to last year, exhibition space has grown by 22% and total exhibitor numbers by 25%. 20% of exhibitors are companies that have never come to Azerbaijan’s market before, which shows the continued interest in the event, and the annual increase in the share of local companies, which this year make up 30% of all exhibitors, is an encouraging factor and a major achievement.The Caspian Oil & Gas annual conference opens on 5 June 2013, the second day of the exhibition. The conference will be held at the Jumeirah Bilgah Beach Hotel for the first time this year. Main conference topics include: ‘Azerbaijan as the key to energy supply and security of Eurasia’, ‘International cooperation to increase resource base and diversify supply routes’, ‘Expanding the resource base: O&G exploration in Azerbaijan’, and ‘Major projects update: innovation in constructing offshore infrastructure’. Over 50 speakers are featuring in total, and approximately 600 delegates have confirmed their attendance. Speakers include, among others: Rovnag Abdullayev, President of SOCAR; Charles Hendry, UK Trade Envoy for Azerbaijan, UK Foreign Office; Rolan Kobia, head of the EU representation in Azerbaijan; Annageldi Mammetyazov, Deputy Minister of Petroleum Industry and Natural Resources of Turkmenistan and others. Seminars that are relevant to a wide range of oil and gas industry representatives add to the business programme – on 5 and 6 June 2013, seminars are taking place on ‘New technologies for measurement and processing results in reservoir calibration’ (Ukrmetrteststandart), ‘The TOFD method: main principles, standards, advantages, personnel certification’ (Belgazpromdiagnostika), ‘Magnatech automatic welding units’ (Magnatech), and ‘Measures for passive fire protection from Graco’ (Graco).‘Meet the Buyer’ events will also be held by BP and its partners on the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Shah Deniz and South Caucasus Pipeline projects. Around 90 Azerbaijani companies specialising in operational support, engineering, construction, waste collection and disposal and providing a range of services will take part. For more information, visit www.caspianoilgas.az.Caspian Oil & Gas promises to be more vibrant and busy this year, with a programme of additional events planned by the organisers. A tree and flower planting ceremony took place in Baku’s Botanical Gardens to mark the 90th anniversary of the birth of Heydar Aliyev, with exhibitors and delegates taking part, and a stand in memory of Heydar Aliyev has been built at the exhibition, reflecting the historic moments of his participation in the exhibition.The organisers will also continue the tradition established last year of presenting awards to the best oil students at the event, a tradition which began at the 15th anniversary event in 2008. A Caspian Oil and Gas scholarship will be awarded to the first-year student with the highest score in the Azerbaijan State Oil Academy entrance exam. An exhibition of the work of the artist Sabir Chopuroglu - who paints using oil as a medium – will also take place, and students of the Kids Art gallery will also paint at the exhibition in front of event participants and visitors on the topic of ‘Azerbaijan – the homeland of oil’.Caspian Oil & Gas is dedicated to the official oil strategy of Azerbaijan founded by Heydar Aliyev and successfully continued by Ilham Aliyev. The organisers are confident that having passed the 20-year mark, the exhibition will continue to be the hallmark of the achievements of the region’s oil and gas sector, and a platform for forging business links and developing new prospects for cooperation. For more information, visit www.cog.az. Notes to editorsCaspian Oil & Gas this year takes place on a significant date – the 90th anniversary of the birth of Azerbaijan’s National Leader, Heydar Aliyev, who founded the exhibition and was the inspiration behind its concept. The first exhibition was held in 1994 on the eve of the signing of the Contract of the Century, an agreement which defined the main development areas for the Caspian Basin’s hydrocarbon resources.At that point, Heydar Aliyev supported the initiative of holding Azerbaijan’s first oil and gas exhibition, considering it “a good platform for attracting global oil and gas companies to the development of the country’s oil and gas industry.” Since then, Caspian Oil & Gas has been a meeting place for leading oil, gas and energy industry professionals where memoranda, agreements, and contracts for future cooperation are signed. The participant list of the exhibition and conference includes leading companies of the global oil and energy sector. 5,600 companies from over 70 countries have taken part in the event since its launch. An important moment in the history of the exhibition was the move to a new venue, the Baku Expo Centre, which gave a fresh boost to the event’s development. The staging of the event in an exhibition complex that meets all international standards took Caspian Oil & Gas to a new level of quality.The event’s status is confirmed by the number of companies sponsoring the exhibition. The General Sponsor of Caspian Oil & Gas 2013 is SOCAR, the Gold Sponsors are BP Azerbaijan and Statoil, and other sponsors include Axpo Trading, Azfen-Tekfen, Azeri MI Drilling Fluids, BNP Paribas, Bos Shelf, Caspian Drilling Company, Caspian Marine Services, Cross Caspian Oil and Gas Logistics, IHS Global, Interpipe, McDermott Caspian Contractors, Nabucco, Nobel Oil, RussNeft, RWE, Siveco Romania, and TexnoProm. The General Media Partner of the event is Caspian Energy International Media Group.Other topics of the Caspian Oil & Gas Conference include ‘Expanding refining & petrochemical capacity of O&G industry in Azerbaijan’ and ‘New trends in developing, processing and transporting liquefied gases’. Environmental issues and international cooperation in protecting the Caspian Region’s ecosystem is also covered, as the subject of the ‘Improving environmental and industrial safety standards’ session. Other speakers include: Hossein Esmaeili Shahmirzadi, General Director for Europe, America and Caspian Sea Neighbouring Countries, Ministry of Oil of the Islamic Republic of Iran; Matthew Bryza, Director of the International Centre for Defence Studies, Estonia; representatives of Oxford and Tripoli Universities; the Special Envoy for Energy of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Israel; a representative of the OSCE office in Azerbaijan; and many others.This year’s conference also has a record number of sponsors, a total of 23 companies. The General Sponsor is SOCAR, the Gold Sponsors are BP and Statoil, and other sponsors include Axpo Trading, Bakcell, BNP Paribas, Caspian Geophysical JV, ConocoPhillips, Cross Caspian Oil and Gas Logistics, Dentons, Ernst&Young, IHS Global, Inpex, Interpipe, Nabucco, Nexans, Nobel Oil, RWE, Siveco Romania, TAP, TexnoProm, Total and Wärtsilä. The Official Airline is Ukraine International Airlines.Additional material related to the anniversary of Caspian Oil & Gas will be contained in the event’s print materials, primarily the official exhibition and conference catalogue and the Caspian Oil & Gas Daily News, which will cover the work of the exhibition and conference, publishing interviews with exhibitors and event statistics. All the latest event news will be posted on the official websites, www.cog.az and www.oilgasconference.az, and a special issue of the Caspian Energy magazine is published by the event’s longstanding media partner Caspian Energy International Media Group, informing a wide audience of the event’s history and distributed amongst exhibitors and delegates. With all their diversity, vibrancy and content, the 20th anniversary events taking place at the exhibition and conference help to create an atmosphere of celebration.Caspian Oil & Gas is organised by ITE Group and Iteca Caspian. ITE Group’s partner companies – ITE Moscow, EUF (Turkey), ITE China, ITE Gulf (UAE) and GiMA (Germany) – have worked hard to attract international participants. SafeLife is the official security partner of all events held by Iteca Caspian in 2013, the Jumeirah Bilgah Beach Hotel and Qafqaz Point Hotel are the official hotels, and Greenwich Travel Club is the official tour operator.