Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Black Gold or Pipe Dream?

Giant Caspian oil pipeline opens

The US Energy Secretary, Samuel Bodman, was present too to claim his piece of the pie.

My thoughts in a later update. Got to get back to work!

Update: (some highlights from the BBC article) Eleven of the world's biggest oil firms are turning the taps on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, which will pump a million barrels a day of Caspian oil to world markets. Many hopes are pinned on the Caspian, and the $4bn BTC is the biggest step so far in its development. But does it have the potential to slake the world's thirst for oil?

The BBC gives out very interesting figures on oil production: the US leads with an output of about 14 million barrels a day followed by Saudi Arabia with 10 million barrels. Russia and Africa take the third spot with 8 mn barrels. Compared to these countries, the caspian pipeline looks like a trickle and even it reaches full capacity (estimated at 6 mn barrels) it will still produce only twice as much as Canada [figures courtesy the BBC].

Once we have established where this new source is placed in the pecking order of oil producing nations, it is clearly evident that the US Energy Secretary was looking for something more than presenting the presidents of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Turkey with his good wishes. The Caspian, to the US, represents a vital source of non-Russian non-Middle Eastern oil. It is no coincidence that the US is one of the biggest consumers of oil and are constantly on the lookout for breaking free (or at the very least easing the hold) from OPEC. The Caspian economy and the region's political stability will defenitely benefit from the petro-dollars that will flow in from all energy hungry countries.

On a grand scale, President Bush's visit to this region with the ostensible reason of bolstering the democratic process and to encourage these countries to break free from Russian interference, Samuel Bodman's prescence at the opening ceremony of the pipiline (obviously to claim some oil for the US market) are not events of pure coincidence. The US economy is so fragile and oil-dependant that when one of OPEC's sheikhs even so much as coughs than the oil prices rise to reach new highs. Some people even think that the invasion of Iraq had little (if anything at all) to do with the submission of terrorism and confiscating the weapons of mass destruction that Saddam had allegedly amassed and more with the oil reserves that Iraq possess. In fact, there is NO news of any weapons of mass destruction that Saddam allegedly had stashed away in a sub-terraneous bunker. Amongst the list of nations ordered in decreasing order of proven oil reserves, Iraq tops the list with 10 billion barrels. Hmmm isn't that a coincidence?

Pipe dream? asks the BBC but I think it goes more than just another source of oil.

Forgive me for sounding paranoid, but US interests in freedom and democracy aren't exactly altruistic. Being, I think, the number 1 resource consuming nation and given the size of their economy and industry - in the interest of economic preservation and continuity they try to secure for themselves a sustainable source of resources even if it means long term harm for the source itself. In the meantime, their interests would have moved onto another source, another option and the story repeats itself. They are victim of their own prosperity.

This doesn't just extend to resources but also in protecting their interests. They have war monged with Russia/China in many a country in an attempt to curtail the spread of communism literally destroying the country in an effort to save it. Once the country is in ruins, they pour in massive amounts of money in a rebuilding operation, run the country (read as scope out resources, setup installations, all but take over these installations) for a while and then turn over control to a weak and near puppet government who in turn exchange all they can offer in terms of resources and commissions for security and US backing in the international community. It does help the country in a way but unfairly advantages the US in the process.

Maybe I should just take my valium and go to bed. What say?

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