Igor Yusufov: Journey in Reshaping Energy Industry through Negotiations, Reforms, and Global Summits

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Igor Yusufov

Igor Yusufov has held a respected position in the oil, gas, and energy sectors.

He is famous for attracting considerable funds to the industry in his homeland and drafting and launching a reform to overcome the multiple problems that had accumulated in the power sector.

He was also involved in organizing international industry summits with the US, conducting negotiations and attracting top companies to finance and develop oil and gas projects.

Talent for Convincing People

Igor Yusufov is known for his ability to negotiate both in public service and later – in his private business. When his new oil and gas project was launched, it needed finance.

Thanks to Igor Yusufov’s efforts, the American Export-Import Bank confirmed its willingness to finance the project. The second case was related to the global market.

It entered a stage of high volatility and it was necessary to regulate it. OPEC conceded to exporting oil in lower volumes.

Summits on Global Energy Security

At the beginning of the century, the global oil and gas industry needed more stability and more reliable conditions for development.

Two international summits with the USA took place to address those issues. Both became career highlights for Igor Yusufov as a minister — he was among the specialists who made them happen.

He was present at both and signed the joint statement to mark the end of the event.

One of the paramount topics of the summits was a favourable investment climate. To create it, the authorities had to upgrade the existing national legislation. In return, they could expect to receive more investments from abroad.

Another issue at the centre of attention was energy efficiency. The most rewarding method of boosting it was integrating advanced technologies.

Another topic was the stabilization of prices within a fixed range. However, the discussions went far beyond the outlined themes.

Attracting an Industry Leader to a New Project

Igor Yusufov’s professional biography reached one of its peaks in 2014 thanks to a Memorandum of understanding with Halliburton. An upcoming oil and gas project was designed to deliver up to one billion tons of gas every year and thrice as much oil.

It required technological expertise and assistance to cope with different types of tasks — and Halliburton was a perfect candidate for that.

The company agreed to share knowledge and experience in many aspects related to the project’s development — from assessing the condition of the existing wells to designing the documentation.

Overcoming the Industry Challenges

Being a minister, Igor Yusufov had to draft a plan to cope with the multiple problems that the industry faced. Its management was too centralized.

The equipment that it relied on did not meet the modern standards. Mineral extraction was carried out irrationally. Selected sectors of the industry were of strategic importance but they failed to get enough funding.

Barter deals largely replaced cash payments, which provoked a budget deficit in several regions, up to the inability to pay the bills.

Igor Yusufov, relying on his expertise as a businessman, realized it would be impossible to upgrade all the power plants in one go. Instead, he suggested reconstructing them gradually — and the process continues. This approach has already enabled to double the amount of electricity produced.

Some facilities had been privatized. As a result of the reform, they came back under state control. Thanks to loosening the chain of command, the local management became able to react to new challenges in real-time.

Key Facts of Biography

Igor Yusufov was born in 1956. He attended a Polytechnic University and got a degree in engineering. After graduation, a major energy-producing company hired him.

After spending five years there, he set off to Cuba to control a power plant construction. When the business trip was over, he entered the Foreign Trade Academy to get a degree in economics.

He joined the public sector in 1991. During those periods when he was not occupied in civil service, he devoted himself to entrepreneurship. He co-founded the Russia-Vostok Trading company and was its CEO. He had been holding its shares until 1996 when he sold them.

He remained active in business until 2020. Currently, his entrepreneurial activities are put on hold and he is no longer involved in any investment projects.