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From: X
Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2001 10:35:24 EDT
To: X
Subject: Fwd: Russia anxious over grip on oil as US firms join Great Game


In a message dated 10/26/01 9:54:05 PM, X writes:

(London) Daily Telegraph



Russia anxious over grip on oil as US firms join Great Game

By Ben Aris in Moscow and Ahmed Rashid in Lahore

(Filed: 24/10/2001)



FOR all the talk of international alliances and the future of Afghanistan,

the real concern for Moscow in Central Asia is cementing its control of the

oil supply and the successful conclusion of the modern Great Game.




Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Russia has kept Central Asia's huge oil

and gas reserves bottled up by restricting access to export pipelines, all

of which run over Russian territory.


America has been pushing alternative pipeline projects out of the region

that do not run over Russian soil.


Last week, Condoleeza Rice, the US national security adviser, assured the

Kremlin that America had no designs on Central Asia even as a new oil

pipeline went online, strengthening Russia's influence in the region.


One of the major reasons that Washington supported the Taliban between 1994

and 1997 was the attempt by the US oil giant Unocal to build a gas pipeline

from Turkmenistan, through Taliban-controlled southern Afghanistan, to

Pakistan and the Gulf.


At the time America and Unocal hoped that the Taliban would swiftly conquer

the country.


As the first tanker at the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossisk was loaded

with oil pumped from Kazakhstan through the Caspian Pipeline Consortium

pipeline, it looked like the rivalry between Moscow and Washington was over.


But as American interests intensify in the region, Moscow is nervous about

giving Washington a toehold.


Ms Rice's statements were designed to allay fears. She said in an article in

the Russian daily Izvestia: "I want to stress this: our policy is not aimed

against the interests of Russia. We do not harbour any plans aimed at

squeezing Russia out of there."


Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan have some of the largest reserves of oil and gas

in the world, but Russia cut them off from international markets as all

their export pipelines run over Russian territory.


America tried aggressively to break the Kremlin stranglehold over the

region, but Ms Rice's comments were the strongest sign yet that Washington

is prepared to concede Russia's dominance.


US-Russian relations have been revolutionised since the September 11 attacks

on America.


In a brave decision, President Putin thumbed his nose at Russia's generals

still labouring under Cold War prejudices and gave the go-ahead for Central

Asian states to play host to US forces.


Both Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are allied to Moscow through the Russian-led

Commonwealth of Independent States, and have allowed use of airfields.


The Kremlin is still nervous, however, about giving America the opportunity

to increase its influence in Central Asia.


After a decade of grandiose promises by international oil companies for an

oil pipeline failed to materialise, Kazakhstan has thrown in its lot with

the Russians.


The Caspian Pipeline Consortium line is the first big one to be built since

the fall of the Soviet Union.


Led by Chevron, CPC brought together the governments of Kazakhstan, Russia

and Oman, as well as several other oil companies, to raise £1.7 billion of

financing.


The petrodollar taps are opening for the Central Asian republics which,

despite their huge reserves, have been wallowing in economic misery for much

of the past decade.


Russia will also do well out of the pipeline. Most of the 1,150-mile route

runs across Russian territory. It is expected to earn Russia £28 billion

over 30 years.


The war in Afghanistan may have ended America's ambitions in the area as a

quid pro quo for Russia's co-operation in the US-led campaign.


But when peace and a stable government eventually comes to Kabul, US oil

companies will be looking closely at Afghanistan because it offers the

shortest route to the Gulf for Central Asia's vast quantities of untapped

oil and gas.


They have invested US$30 billion (£20 billion) in developing oil and gas

fields in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan, but exporting

to the West involves lengthy and expensive pipelines.


American companies are barred from building pipelines through Iran, and are

reluctant to build them through Russia.


Washington is now proposing a US$3 billion pipeline from Azerbaijan, on the

Caspian Sea, through Georgia to Turkey's Mediterranean coast - a lengthy and

expensive project that will put huge transport costs to every barrel of

Central Asian oil that reaches Europe.


US companies could build a similar pipeline from Central Asia through

Afghanistan to Karachi at half the cost, if the next Afghan government can

guarantee its security.


Russia fears that is exactly what the Americans want and, now that US troops

are based in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, they will establish a permanent

presence and not leave.


America has pledged to "consult" in the event of a direct threat to the

security or territorial integrity of Uzbekistan, wording that has increased

suspicions in Moscow that American troops will stay in its Central Asian

backyard after the shooting in Afghanistan is over.



Ahmed Rashid is author of Taliban: Islam, Oil and the New Great Game in

Central Asia.


Information appearing on Electronic Telegraph is the copyright of Telegraph

Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without licence. For

the full copyright statement see Copyright




----------------------- Headers --------------------------------
From: X
Date: Friday, October 26, 2001 8:56 AM
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
Subject: Russia anxious over grip on oil as US firms join Great Game

(London) Daily Telegraph


Russia anxious over grip on oil as US firms join Great Game
By Ben Aris in Moscow and Ahmed Rashid in Lahore
(Filed: 24/10/2001)


FOR all the talk of international alliances and the future of Afghanistan,
the real concern for Moscow in Central Asia is cementing its control of the
oil supply and the successful conclusion of the modern Great Game.



Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Russia has kept Central Asia's huge oil
and gas reserves bottled up by restricting access to export pipelines, all
of which run over Russian territory.

America has been pushing alternative pipeline projects out of the region
that do not run over Russian soil.

Last week, Condoleeza Rice, the US national security adviser, assured the
Kremlin that America had no designs on Central Asia even as a new oil
pipeline went online, strengthening Russia's influence in the region.

One of the major reasons that Washington supported the Taliban between 1994
and 1997 was the attempt by the US oil giant Unocal to build a gas pipeline
from Turkmenistan, through Taliban-controlled southern Afghanistan, to
Pakistan and the Gulf.

At the time America and Unocal hoped that the Taliban would swiftly conquer
the country.

As the first tanker at the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossisk was loaded
with oil pumped from Kazakhstan through the Caspian Pipeline Consortium
pipeline, it looked like the rivalry between Moscow and Washington was over.

But as American interests intensify in the region, Moscow is nervous about
giving Washington a toehold.

Ms Rice's statements were designed to allay fears. She said in an article in
the Russian daily Izvestia: "I want to stress this: our policy is not aimed
against the interests of Russia. We do not harbour any plans aimed at
squeezing Russia out of there."

Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan have some of the largest reserves of oil and gas
in the world, but Russia cut them off from international markets as all
their export pipelines run over Russian territory.

America tried aggressively to break the Kremlin stranglehold over the
region, but Ms Rice's comments were the strongest sign yet that Washington
is prepared to concede Russia's dominance.

US-Russian relations have been revolutionised since the September 11 attacks
on America.

In a brave decision, President Putin thumbed his nose at Russia's generals
still labouring under Cold War prejudices and gave the go-ahead for Central
Asian states to play host to US forces.

Both Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are allied to Moscow through the Russian-led
Commonwealth of Independent States, and have allowed use of airfields.

The Kremlin is still nervous, however, about giving America the opportunity
to increase its influence in Central Asia.

After a decade of grandiose promises by international oil companies for an
oil pipeline failed to materialise, Kazakhstan has thrown in its lot with
the Russians.

The Caspian Pipeline Consortium line is the first big one to be built since
the fall of the Soviet Union.

Led by Chevron, CPC brought together the governments of Kazakhstan, Russia
and Oman, as well as several other oil companies, to raise £1.7 billion of
financing.

The petrodollar taps are opening for the Central Asian republics which,
despite their huge reserves, have been wallowing in economic misery for much
of the past decade.

Russia will also do well out of the pipeline. Most of the 1,150-mile route
runs across Russian territory. It is expected to earn Russia £28 billion
over 30 years.

The war in Afghanistan may have ended America's ambitions in the area as a
quid pro quo for Russia's co-operation in the US-led campaign.

But when peace and a stable government eventually comes to Kabul, US oil
companies will be looking closely at Afghanistan because it offers the
shortest route to the Gulf for Central Asia's vast quantities of untapped
oil and gas.

They have invested US$30 billion (£20 billion) in developing oil and gas
fields in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan, but exporting
to the West involves lengthy and expensive pipelines.

American companies are barred from building pipelines through Iran, and are
reluctant to build them through Russia.

Washington is now proposing a US$3 billion pipeline from Azerbaijan, on the
Caspian Sea, through Georgia to Turkey's Mediterranean coast - a lengthy and
expensive project that will put huge transport costs to every barrel of
Central Asian oil that reaches Europe.

US companies could build a similar pipeline from Central Asia through
Afghanistan to Karachi at half the cost, if the next Afghan government can
guarantee its security.

Russia fears that is exactly what the Americans want and, now that US troops
are based in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, they will establish a permanent
presence and not leave.

America has pledged to "consult" in the event of a direct threat to the
security or territorial integrity of Uzbekistan, wording that has increased
suspicions in Moscow that American troops will stay in its Central Asian
backyard after the shooting in Afghanistan is over.


Ahmed Rashid is author of Taliban: Islam, Oil and the New Great Game in
Central Asia.

Information appearing on Electronic Telegraph is the copyright of Telegraph
Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without licence. For
the full copyright statement see Copyright

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