Contractors Unlimited Baku, Azerbaijan

Working in Baku

Where

Baku, the capital of the former soviet state of Azerbaijan, is located on the western shore of the Caspian Sea and is one of Azerbaijan's largest cities. Azerbaijan is at the geographical crossroads of Central Asia, Europe and the Middle East. It borders Iran, Turkey and the Caspian Sea.

Why

Baku is the centre of the country's massive petroleum industry, both as the headquarters for many operators, contractor and service companies and as a centre for the production of oil-industry equipment. It is also home to a petrochemical industry to the north of the city, a shipbuilding and repair industry, and it has two large refineries (the New Baku Refinery and the older Azneftyag Refinery) on its outskirts. All the major players are represented in the city, including; BP, Statoil, Lukoil, Pennzoil, Agip, ExxonMobil, McDermotts, PSN, and of course the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR). Azerbaijan's recoverable oil reserves, mostly in 4 offshore fields, are officially reported to be almost one billion metric tons and gas reserves 500 billion cubic meters. The four major oil fields are - the Guneshli, Chirag, Azeri and Kapaz fields. Most exports are to the former Soviet Republics, though a significant amount is exported to Iran. There is scope for contract work both on and offshore.

How to Get There

Airport - Heydar Aliyev International Airport (GYD): Virtually all contracts arranged in the UK will include air travel. Baku's airport is situated 16 miles (26km) from Baku. There are daily flights from London. bmi operate a direct flight from London Heathrow lasting around five and a half hours outbound and six and a half hours inbound. Other operators include Lufthansa / Austrian Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Aeroflot, but will include at least one stop.
Transfer to the city: Bus 16 services the city centre and official taxis are available outside the airport building. Beware of drivers within the arrivals hall who are unlicensed and charge more. Hotel courtesy cars can be arranged for about €20.
Car rental companies are available in the international arrivals area.

What You Need to Know

Time Zone: Azerbaijan is 4 hours ahead of the UK. (GMT +4). (GMT +5 in summer).
Currency: The Azeri currency is the Manat (AZM). £1 ~ 8000 AZM approximately (as at Jan 2009).
Electricity supply is 220 V, 50 Hz. Plugs are European style with double pins.
Subway The city has a clean, efficient, relatively safe subway system serving 19 stations.
Taxi is generally recommended for new visitors to Baku. Taxis are yellow Turkish cabs with TAXI sign or white Hyundis with blue sign - neither of which have meters. Blue license plates are officially licensed and are considered to be safer, although almost all taxis are safe anyway.
Travel Advice is available from the UK Foreign &
Commonwealth Office
. Worth checking before you travel.
The British Embassy is at 45 Khagani Street, AZ1010 Baku.
 

Must Haves

Entrance Visa: All visitors to Azerbaijan are recommended to obtain a visa prior to their arrival. Passports without visas are retained by the immigration authorities at the airport. Visitors then must to apply to the Consular department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during working hours to retrieve their passport with a visa. Again, UK employers will sort this out for you before travelling.
 

Must Dos

Visit the Airport market, also known as Airport Tolkuchka, located near Baku Airport. Spices, carpets, fake goods etc etc. Keep your money and valuables safe as you wander round.
Explore the Maiden's Tower: Baku's most prominent landmark is located along the seafront in downtown Baku. The tower dates back to at least the 12th century. Its original purpose is subject of some debate. Some claim it was an astronomical observatory, or a Zoroastrian temple or it just a simple defensive tower. Do go inside and have a look around and see the historical pictures on the walls. You can also climb to the top for some great views of the city.
The Jazz Club is located in the heart of Baku at the end of Fountain Square, across the street from the Boulevard. This underground club offers live music with some of the best jazz musicians in Azerbaijan. The food is good and it has a lively bar. Live music starts after 8pm with a different band playing most evenings. Even if you don't like jazz, its worth a visit. No dress code.
Walk the Boulevard: Along the water front there are numerous rides and amusements for children - including a Ferris wheel, that provide good views for the adults. The Boulevard also offers outdoor billiards, chess tables, tea houses and cafes. During the summer take a cruise around the bay. Lots of small boats offer this service.
Visit Fountain Square. The centre of the city's night life with plenty of bars and restaurants.

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