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A few points of context:

  • Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are indeed significant hydrocarbon producers (mostly natural gas), but that production has only one outlet: the Russian system. That gas never reaches the international markets and these countries are not readily accessible to foreign players. Turkmenistan is a totally closed country rules by a crazy dictator. Uzbekistan has more links to the West, but that's linked to the War in Afghanistan, and its use as a military air base. so whatever damning compromises the West makes in that region are more linked to Afghanistan than to oil or gas. (That doesn't make it less shameful, but it's not oil)

  • Kazakhstan is a different case, as it is indeed open to Western oil majors and does have large reserves that attract them. It's also not as bad as the above two countries, but it's not very pretty. It's generally considered better run than Russia, not that this is very high praise, but it is notable for the region...


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 1st, 2005 at 06:04:35 AM EST
Jerome,

Thanks for the comment.

My question is about this idea of the "new great game". While an Uzbek or Turkmenistan base is for the war efforts in Afghanistan, and the gas from a particular country may not be going to foreign players, what of this issue of the struggle between Russia, China, Iran, & the US for a presence and influence in the region -which is ultimately because of oil and other natural resources.

I did a search on Uzbek and oil pipelines after your post, there are a lot of big US companies present there -and hiring...

My understanding is that Russia and the US reacted very strongly when Turkmenistan made a pipeline agreement w/ Iran.

My point/ question is not on the specifics of the oil per se -which I am not an expert in, but on how much of a blind eye is required to become involved in these countries? Or what policies that border on complicity are required?

by aden on Thu Nov 3rd, 2005 at 02:51:28 AM EST
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