Vintage Blog post below: An oldie but a goodie. And you wonder why Obama is not getting out of Afganistan or Oil-pipe-istan as we call it.

The Caspian Sea is the largest body of water in the world completly surrounded by land - and it is saline, left over from an ancient sea.  Five countries share the shores of the Caspian,

Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. It not a tranquil place.

In 2002 a deal  was signed to build a gas pipeline  from the Caspian Sea through Turkmenistan and  Afghanistan, culminating at ports in Karachi in Pakistan. The Trans -Afghan oil pipeline has been planned by the same consortium, CentGas - which includes US oil giant Unocal. The plan for this and other pipelines was begun in 1995 under Clinton, as his direction. While that is on hold for now - it will be back - oil is forever. BP was part of  yet another pipeline scheme. Below,  route for  CentGas pipeline.

Feb 7 2007 Miki Jackson

Someone with access to a large distribution network for their articles has finally, in recent times, said the "Caspian" word.  Caspian as in "Caspian Sea" and "Caspian Bowl". There was some coverage of things Caspian at the end of 2001 and the first part of 2002. Since then it has be conspicuous for it's absence in the all knowing media.  
First a little background. Back in the beginning of his reign, before Bush launched on his "all oil all the time" campaign of world domination, I took some time on the public access show I am a regular on, "NPOV",  and made some oil based predictions of what the future would hold under the Bush II world order.

The first thing I said the Bush administration would  try to do is depose Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. In fact they did try to pull it off in April of 2002. This resulted in what is surely one of the shortest coups in modern history. The Marx Brothers like fiasco lasted from April 12th to the 14th before Chavez got the  keys to the office back. This only helped Chavez even further into the already welcoming arms of nearby Cuba. It helped set him up in this farcical play as the tormentor of a deserving George Bush. The fact that the Bush administration botched the coup did not negate their effort or intent. It was only a precursor of other fumbled efforts. 

I also predicted that they would move on certain strategically located territory in the Mideast. I mentioned Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq as prime targets. I thought this would happen because of their favorable location in respect to the Caspian area, as well as the oil riches of Iran and Iraq themselves. I said the prize they had their eyes on was the Caspian region. There has long been a struggle to put a pipeline in that region that would let the non Russian (and maybe a little Russian) portion of the oil run to more hospitable locales where it could be be brought to refineries and, finally, a hungry market.
The U.S. has tried to romance Russia into a deal for years. In fact is was probably the gleam of a shiny pipeline full of oily depths of profit that caused Bush to swoon when he famously looked into Putin's eyes. Sadly even a much vaunted visit to Bush's ranch didn't seal the wedding and so they continued to pursue the less romantic strategy of blowing up the needed real estate to get their hands on the black gold.
Along came 9/11 and an excuse to use the rich brew of panic and anger that was handed to them on a platter. The Bush forces have gone into both Afghanistan and Iraq and are coiling up to strike Iran. They have thus far made a chaotic ruin of their efforts, with an even bigger mess to come.
What needs to be understood is all that matters to big oil is getting a stranglehold on the region's oil on their terms. When we, the much abused public look at the war and it's ill begotten aftermath, we see a huge morass that money and lives are sinking into. Big oil sees the  opportunity they have long coveted. 

The cost in lives, taxpayer's hard earned funds and political credibility are irrelevant to them. These costs do not appear on their balance sheets. No matter what the financial or human cost, for big oil there is no price too large for the rest of us to pay to advance their control of energy resources and the vast profits that will bring. If they can, they will press on till the last dollar, the last US soldier and the last civilian in the region is dead.
A few words about the Caspian region. It was the site of a great oil boom in the last century. The Caspian was a fledgling oil area in 1873, but by the 1900's it was producing nearly half of the oil in the world. The famous Nobel family, they of  "Nobel Prize" fame, won a great deal of the prize to be had in the region. They were the major players in the development of the area. The boom city of that era was Baku in Azerbaijan. The British, the Dutch and the French soon set up shop in the oil rich region. (Ah, the British, that calls to mind a factor that may have loomed larger for Tony Blair than any infatuation with Bush. Oil giant British Petroleum, BP or Arco as it is known in this country, holds a formidable economic hand in Great Briton and aims to stay as big a player in the oil grab in this century as it was in the last.)
There is irony in that pipelines were first used in the Caspian. The Nobels pioneered a number of innovations in the still youthful oil industry.  They were the first to use pipelines to move oil to refineries and they had the first steam tankers built to carry oil. The lumbering ancestors to the ill fated Exxon Valdiz first plied these waters, hauling Nobel's oil to Iran.
With the Russian revolution in 1917 the foreign companies were forced to leave. That was a disappointing turn of events for them ,and they, along with more recent players, have pined for all that lost primordial gold for these many years. 

A great portion of the sea and the surrounding region are in Russia, even more of it was before the fall of the Soviet Union. Such well located countries as Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan used to be under the old USSR, they are now "independent" of Mother Russia and possess location, location, location. Like children of a dominant parent, they hope the exploitation of regional oil riches will give them a chance to cut, or least fray the Russian apron strings.
By the way, the motto of our somewhat eccentric public access show is "The lunatic rantings you hear on this show today, will be the conventional wisdom in 6 months" ...or 6 years.


Since this post was written a great deal has happened, but little has changed in the world of oil motivation. Obama’s renewed commitment to the war in Afghanistan has more to do with a renewed commitment to the oil pipeline that is does ideology or Osama - in fact catching him would be counter productive for support for more war. Our government seems more and more under the thumb , to say nothing of the slick, of oil. Now it is looking more and more like the Oil warriors are trying to build a justification for invading Pakistan in a much bigger way.

Europe is looking to try to get more oil from sources other than Russia, and they have plans in the works to bring gas and oil through the Nabucco Pipeline from the Caspian region.

And the beat goes on....

Early Nobel  family oil  and gas  industry installations in Baku on the Caspian Sea, left.

Below, BP’s facilities in Caspian area today

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