Anar Aliyev’s interview in the Last Word rubric to the prestigious Oil&Gas Middle East Magazine

Anar Aliyev

CEO & founder at Union Grand Energy

1. What is your current role in the regional oil & gas industry?

My group, Union Grand Energy, is highly active in the oil & gas sector of Azerbaijan in both upstream and downstream projects. However, we remain committed to the UAE market as Azerbaijani business representatives. For me, there are several reasons why the UAE is an attractive market, including its well-established energy sector, convenient transport and logistics facilities and a wealth of reliable industry partners. In fact, we started our activities as a vendor to oil services companies in the oil & gas industry in Dubai in the early 2000s. As we gained more and more experience over time, we slowly moved into upstream oil & gas projects in Azerbaijan.

We have steadily expanded, and have acquired and developed new technologies and the necessary materials for this market. Moreover, since Azerbaijan has enjoyed independence for only 20 years or so, it still lacks a certain level of experience and skills in the oil & gas sector. Therefore, my entities that were established in the UAE at that time benefited from the enriched experience of the UAE’s oil & gas sector, and as such, engaged many professionals from the UAE market. In the meantime, the effective management of my oil & gas projects in Azerbaijan is conducted from UAE offices.

2. What is the most exciting trend or development in your sector at the moment and how does it affect your company?

In my opinion the most exciting trend in the oil & gas sector remains the high prices for products which continue to drive interest in this industry. Among new trends I would also mark a high competition among oil and oil service companies. In this case, our experience over many years in various markets has served us well.

3. Are you optimistic about the future of oil & gas in the Middle East in general?

There is one very irrefutable fact that affects not only oil & gas industry, but the world as a whole: things have changed and the global demand for energy will continue to quickly grow. The UAE is the leader in renewable energy and will remain so because of its effectively built oil & gas sector. The UAE is also constructing the world’s largest solar energy venture in Madinat Zayed in Abu Dhabi, which puts it among the world’s leading alternative energy producers.

4. What CSR programs is your company involved in?

We have been active in CSR programs for the last couple of years, and have engaged professionals who have assisted us with this. Among such programs, a highlight for me is our financial assistance to young people pursuing their education goals. Another major program we’re involved in aims to provide homes to oil & gas employees in upstream projects in Azerbaijan. We’ve spent a great deal of energy, time and funds on the implementation of this program, and I’m pleased to say that around 18 families will enjoy their brand new homes this year.

Quick facts

What is your favourite film?

Forrest Gump

Your best holiday destination?

I am very fond of my home town of Nakhchivan, and also the beautiful landscapes of Turkey

Your favourite band, singer, composer?

I like our national music in Azerbaijan including mastersingers Mugam. Among foreign singers I enjoy Sting, The Beatles and the Russian singer Gregory Leps

Your favourite book?

Gulistani-Iram, a historic book written by Bakikhanov