Where business meets geopolitics

So it was finally finished this week, though it will take 6 months for the oil to go from one end to the other. At full capacity the pipeline will provide 1% of the world’s oil needs. The Economist notes the significance:

The BTC pipeline, though the most expensive option for exporting Caspian oil, was backed by America because it avoided Russia, thereby reducing the dependence of the Caucasus and Central Asia on Russian pipelines. The pipeline also provided an opportunity to bolster regional economies that the West is courting, especially those of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey, a NATO ally, and build support for America in the region. Georgia’s location gives it a “strategic importance far beyond its sizeâ€?, according to America’s State Department.

Upgrading an alternative route through Georgia to Supsa on the Black Sea would have made for a far shorter (and cheaper) pipeline. But Turkey complained that it would lead to an unsustainable level of shipping passing through the Bosporus Strait that bisects Istanbul. At Washington’s urging, the BTC pipeline wended its complex way through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. However, some critics of the pipeline point out that the oil revenues provided to Azerbaijan will help to prop up the country’s autocratic and corrupt regime. And environmentalists have complained that the pipe slices through a national park in Georgia.

2 thoughts on “Where business meets geopolitics”

  1. indeed at least relatively lessening Georgia’s energy dependence on Russia is extremely important for the country. there have been numerous instances in the past, when the energy companies admitted that cutting nearly all supplies to the country in the middle of the winter, leaving millions without heat and electricity, was a directive from Kremlin. under such dependence it’s no wonder that the government was willing to negotiate on anything to avoid the situation of people heading to the streets. this pipeline will certainly help Georgia’s stance in its relations with Moscow. and in this case the government seems to be willing to sacrifice some of Borjomi (both the national park and the mineral water).

  2. What makes anyone think oil passing through Georgia will improve anything there? I don’t think history would support such a claim. And it figures Azerbaijan would suffer enhanced repression under the petro-pol regime; it’s corrolary to the syndrome. I expect nothing good to come of Georgia’s involvement in big oil, just further degradation of the political, social, cultural and environmental spheres under WTC NeoCon regime. Until little countries have some angle of their own to work, bandwagoning with the big dogs will only result in variously-tilted gameboards which invariably enrich the already-rich and further victimize the vulnerable. Where is the progressive movement in Georgia?

Comments are closed.