Thursday, August 14, 2008

Georgian pipeline deathwatch

This morning I wrote about Western oil firms fleeing from Georgia, and now, the Nabucco natural gas pipeline is in jeopardy, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Though the pipeline doesn't go through Georgia, it is a westward expansion through Turkey of the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline (BTE, not to be confused with its oil counterpart, the BTC pipeline), which is already built and flows through Georgia, and so would be vulnerable if the BTE pipeline were interrupted.

Russia Today (a state-owned Russian news organization) reports, citing industry analysts, that "Europe and America will drop Georgia from a new oil and gas project" after the recent scuffle in Georgia. And who, conveniently enough, is ready to fill in the void left by the likely cancellation of the Nabucco pipeline? Russia, of course:

Rival Russian gas pipeline projects South Stream and Pre-Caspian are ready to fill the gap. Konstantin Batunin, Oil and Gas Analyst at Alfa-Bank says they are more certain than the alternatives.

"Those projects being pursued by Russia they have a future. But all those projects involving Georgia they used to be kind of vague in the past, now they're getting even more vague."

Being from a biased state news organization, the author of the article says that "President Saakashvili's erratic behaviour is wiping out Tbilisi's strategic and geographic advantages." But it's quite obvious that this is Russia's desire and Russia's doing, as they've been trying to provoke a Georgian invasion of South Ossetia or Abkhazia for months.

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