Wednesday, August 13, 2008

BP Oil Pipeline in Georgia: Subtext For Russian Invasion?

BP decided to shut down the pipeline that runs through parts of Georgia controlled by Russian troops. Vladimir Putin views the pipeline as a larger campaign by Washington to contain and isolate Russia and limit the expansion of its burgeoning energy empire. It was just as Putin was coming to power in 1999 that an agreement was reached to create the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, above. The project would allow Azerbaijan and its production partner, BP, to bypass Russia and transport their newly drilled oil instead through Georgia and Turkey to a port in the eastern Mediterranean.

Before the BTC, because of Russia's control of the only pipeline system linking former Soviet republics with the West, it had been able to extract most of the profit from any oil and gas that these newly independent countries could produce. But with BTC, which had the active support of the U.S. and European governments, Russia would lose its monopoly, opening the way for Western oil companies to make multibillion-dollar investments in the energy-rich Caucasus states. (The Washington Post 8/13/2008)

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