Experts Warn Russia Seeks Influence Over Vast Caspian Oil Reserves - 2007

As I have said on many occasions, the global crisis we are witnessing today (sometimes called the prelude to World War III) is more-or-less a direct result of the fight over control of Central Asian energy resources and Eurasian energy distribution routes. What the article below naturally fails to address, however, is that the crime committed on September 11, 2001 was in effect meant to draw the West, spearheaded by the United States, into Central Asia and the Persian Gulf with the hopes of gaining control over the region's strategic energy reserves. In short: those who control the region's vast energy reserves controls the global economy. And another thing that the article fails to mention is the fact that Moscow has in fact already managed to bring under its control a large extent of the region's energy distribution networks. Pivotal nations in this global struggle are Afghanistan/Pakistan and Iran, both strategically vital land routes for routing Caspian Sea region and Central Asian oil and gas reserves away from the Russian Federation and to a lesser extent, Iran.



Experts Warn Russia Seeks Influence Over Vast Caspian Oil Reserves


Rising oil prices, a resurgent Russia and continued turbulence in the Middle East have intensified competition for control of the vast oil and gas reserves in the Caspian Sea. The competition, involving big business and power politics, pits Russia against the West. At stake, some experts say, is world domination of the energy market. VOA's Brian Padden recently traveled to Azerbaijan and Germany, and has prepared a series of reports on the politics of oil. This story looks at transnational pipelines, and how they have become battlegrounds for influence and power.

From an off-shore platform in the Caspian Sea, British Petroleum extracts oil from a reserve estimated to contain 5.4 billion barrels of oil. From there, it is piped directly to the Sangachal terminal, located just outside of Baku, the capital of the Central Asian country of Azerbaijan. From there, it takes a circuitous route, avoiding Russia, to reach energy hungry countries in Europe and Asia. A pipeline, with a capacity of one million barrels a day, transports the oil north to Tbilisi, Georgia, and then southwest to the Mediterranean port city of Ceyhan, Turkey. From there, tankers carry the oil around the world. The Caspian region now supplies only a portion of the oil the world consumes, but its vast untapped reserves are believed to rival those of Russia and Saudi Arabia. Alex Alexiev, an analyst with the Center for Security Policy in Washington, says the future development of this energy-rich region could change the balance of power in the world. "Whoever controls the tap of gas and oil really has tremendous economic power, and that does change the equation," said Alexiev.

The West considered development of the Baku/Tbilisi/Ceyhan pipeline a victory. But, most of the Caspian region's oil and gas still travels through Russian pipelines, built before the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the oil rich countries of central Asia were still ruled from Moscow. Turkmenistan recently signed an agreement to build a new pipeline to send its gas to Russia. Alexiev warns that an autocratic Russia, if it ever gained a monopoly on the region's energy supplies, would be able to impose its political will upon the world. "Russia does not want to operate on purely capitalistic principles, where commodities are sold, etceteras, strictly on the basis of profit. They want to use hydrocarbon resources for political purposes," he added. Construction of a planned Central Asia Oil Pipeline through Afghanistan and Pakistan, designed to bypass Russia, has been stalled because of continuing instability in the region.

In 2006, Russia's government-run gas monopoly temporarily cut its gas flow to Ukraine and Belarus in a dispute over a sharp price increase, a move that was seen by many as politically motivated. That also sharply reduced deliveries to Europe, unnerving European leaders. For supporters of the Baku/Tbilisi/Ceyhan pipeline, these moves reinforced their views that a pipeline bypassing Russia was necessary. The Caspian region's oil reserves are key, as Russia and the West vie for influence in the region. Vugar Bayramov with the Center for Economic and Social Development in Baku, says Azerbaijan, which has vast oil reserves, has aligned itself firmly with the West, and supports the building of a second pipeline, called Nabucco. "West has real traditions, which I mean, big tradition, experience to make richer, to give more benefit, to neighbor or friend countries, but Russia doesn't have such experience," said Bayramov. A consortium of Western oil companies built the Baku/Tbilisi/Ceyhan pipeline at a time when Russia was economically weak.

Alexander Rahr with the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin, says high energy prices have made Russia richer and stronger, and anxious to re-establish its political standing in the world. "Russia is trying to become an energy superpower again," said Rahr. Rahr says Russia wants to monopolize the transport of oil and gas to Asian and European markets, in order to bolster its global ambitions. But, he says, the marketplace is too diverse to be controlled. "Russia exactly needs the Western markets to sell its oil and gas. And, it knows that, if it tries to threaten the markets, if it tries to weaken the West by using energy and gas as a weapon to push others into a kind of corner, it will lose this market and the benefits," he added. Rahr says developing direct European access to the Caspian Region oil and gas will help keep Russia's political ambitions in check.


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Arevordi will be taking a sabbatical to tend to personal matters. New blog commentaries will henceforth be posted on an irregular basis. The comments board however will continue to be moderated on a regular basis.

The last 20 years or so has also helped me see Russia as the last front against scourges of Westernization, Globalism, American expansionism, Zionism, Islamic extremism and pan-Turkism. I have also come to see Russia as the last hope humanity has for the preservation of classical western civilization, Apostolic Christianity and the traditional nation-state. This realization compelled me to create this blog in 2010. Immediately, this blog became one of the very few voices in the vastness of cyberia that dared to preach about the dangers of Globalism and the Anglo-American-Jewish alliance, and the only voice preaching the strategic importance of Armenia remaining within Russia's orbit. From about 2010 to 2015 I did monthly, at times weekly, commentaries about Russian-Armenian relations and Eurasian geopolitics in general. It was very difficult as I had no assistance in this endeavor. The time I put into this blog therefore came at the expense of work and family. But a powerful feeling inside me urged me to keep going; and I did.

When Armenia finally joined the EEU and integrated its armed forces into Russia's military structures a couple of years ago, I finally felt a deep sense of satisfaction and relaxation, as if a very heavy burden was lifted off my shoulders. I finally felt that my personal mission was accomplished. I therefore felt I could take a step back, as I really needed the rest. Simply put: I have lived to see the institutionalization of Russian-Armenian alliance. Also, I feel more confident now that Armenians are collectively recognizing the strategic importance of Armenia's ties with Russia. Moreover, I feel satisfied knowing that, at least on a subatomic level, I had a hand in the outcome. As a result, I feel a strong sense of mission accomplished. I therefore no longer have the urge to continue as in the past. In other words, the motivational force that had propelled me in previous years has been gradually dissipating because I feel that this blog has lived to see the realization of its stated goal. Going forward, I do not want to write merely for the sake of writing. Also, I do not want to say something if I have nothing important to say. I feel like I have said everything I needed to say. Henceforth, I will post seasonal commentaries about topics I find important. I will however continue moderating the blog's comments section on a regular basis; ultimately because I'm interested in what my readers have to say and also because it's through readers here that I am at times made aware of interesting developments.

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