Baku hosted the signing ceremony today for the 800 million dollar contract between the subsidiaries of the Italian Group Maire Tecnimont and the Azerbaijani state-owned oil company, SOCAR. The aim of the partnership is to upgrade and reconstruct the Heydar Aliyev refinery, a major Azerbaijani crude oil refining plant. The Italian Ambassador in Baku, Augusto Massari, underlined how this long-term agreement will have a strategic impact on the bilateral relations between Italy and Azerbaijan. “Diplomatic, political and institutional relations must be complemented by concrete industrial partnerships. The contract signed today by SOCAR and Tecnimont is a clear example of this. Such projects, besides having a strategic value for both companies, will bring the economies of our two countries closer, hence consolidating our friendly relations.” Italy is Azerbaijan’s major trade partner. The trade volume between the two countries accounted for more than 4 billion euro between January and October 2017, which is a 50% increase against the same time period in 2016.