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In fact it is the critics who often argue that we need a better understanding of these local forms of resistance against the "universal" force of the market. The terms of this debate are quite misleading. We use cookies to enhance your experience. Dismiss this message or find out more.

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Extract: The Oil Road – journeys from the Caspian Sea to the City of London

Privacy Details. Agree and Close. Both BP and the government have repeatably tried to to stop Mayis from speaking out against the pipeline. Central to the story of the pipeline is the oil giant, BP, and its ex-Chief executive John Browne and the Contract of the century, which BP said was to develop the country as well as the oil. BP promised a pipeline that would be a new era of social and environmental responsibility.

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But it is anything but Source: Rowell b np link. Although we are a centre of expertise on the oil industry we also want to challenge the whole approach of rule by experts, which ultimately includes those working in campaign groups and NGOs.

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The aim was to really get under the skin of the way the movement and pumping of crude oil, from its extraction in the Caspian Sea to Central and Western Europe, works, and to find a way of making that process accessible and interesting to people who aren't oil geeks. The book was the product of extensive research. James began thinking about the Caspian, the Caucasus and oil in the s. Platform, the political campaigning group James helped establish in the s and for which I have worked since , has been engaged in related issues since , particularly in challenging BP's then-proposed Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which forms the first part of the book.

The Oil Road: Journeys from the Caspian Sea To the City Of London

As a result we had a large base of knowledge to work from. We wrote a previous book before the pipeline was built called Some Common Concerns which tried to imagine what the pipeline would be like and what some of its consequences would be. Initially we saw this book as a follow-up to that, after the pipeline was built, to examine whether or not our warnings had been correct, and to challenge BP's writing of the history.

We tracked the movement of the crude westwards from the Caspian, so the book's narrative is spatial rather than chronological. That involved going to the villages, to the cities and political centres, through the valleys and mountain ranges and coastlines, and spending quite a lot of time in Georgia, in Baku, in north-eastern Turkey, and a lot of the time in places people don't normally visit: little villages and so on.

The Oil Road - Marriott, James/ Minio-paluello, Mika - | HPB

But yes: we had a long-term engagement with people living in the communities along the route before the pipeline was built, while it was being built, and after it was constructed. A lot of the voices of people along the pipeline don't really come out unless you actually go and speak to them. You don't hear their stories in BP's sustainability reports, unless they happen to work for BP, and even then the quoting can be very selective.

They rarely appear in media coverage, or in the academic papers that have been done, most of which I've come across relating to the pipeline were written in cooperation with BP. When you go there you find that people have varying perspectives. It's not that everyone you meet who lives near the pipeline says 'I hate the pipeline'. In fact a lot of people in Turkey, because of the way the pipeline has been represented as a national project and something the Turkish people should be proud of, will initially say 'the pipeline's great, it's wonderful, we should stand with it'.

Only once you talk more, and less directly, about it do you start to hear their concerns or their unhappiness about the way their land was destroyed, or how they can't access their land, etc.

From Caspian Sea to Arctic to MidEast, How Oil Pipelines Threaten Democracy & Planet's Survival. 1/3

Here too we get to meet vicariously the people shaping and shaped by the route in question and reconstruct a more accurate picture of what is otherwise a hotly politicised, and therefore deliberately obfuscated, reality Source: England np link. In places, their writing is striking, particularly when they discuss how the past is mirrored in the present.

This is great read. Highly informative and seriously well-written with lashings of decent political analysis you will not find elsewhere. The oil industry as seen from the bottom - man and woman on the street or rather in this case the field. We waited a long time for this Source: terrymac np link. Thankfully there are books like this that are able to grasp and communicate this sort of profound intellectual synthesis. The result is a serious, unsettling read. Yet, somehow, deeply satisfying too Source: Housmans np link.

Other than its enjoyable, educational scope, the biggest compliment I can pay this book is that it is an eye-opener, bringing the BTC pipeline's problems that persist into full view — and I say that as someone intimately involved in the BTC campaign in and , and for whom too the project has taken on, regretably, a certain 'done deal' aspect. This is reportage of the highest calibre. As PLATORM's Marriot and Minio—Paluello relate their shadowing of the BTC pipeline's marker posts in the ground, they lay down their own vital markers: not only for western consumers and BTC communities but for other people facing up to fossil fuel fantasies in the name of development, fantasies that continue to be bankrolled by western capital's finest public and private financiers Source: Anon c np link.

In particular The Oil Road spells out how BP and the Azeri regime "sold" the idea to both bankers and local communities: "BP's interconnectedness with the Aliyev regime goes beyond underwriting it with revenues. The company's cooperation with the repressive regime operates on multiple levels: local executive powers in villages, the Azeri secret service, and the troops of the Special State Protection Service of Azerbaijan.

I asked them myself whether they had any comments on these allegations but they declined Source: Macalister np link. While the travelogue style of the book can at times be a bit confusing, there is much in here of use to anti-capitalists and environmental activists. It is particularly difficult to read it without developing enormous anger against BP, a company that in caused "total emissions of 5. This is a company that turns oil production on and off at the press of a button if the price of crude oil falls too low, whose products make enormous profits for a tiny minority yet balks at offering a few hundred pounds to farmers whose lands have been destroyed by the Oil Road.

If there is one criticism, I feel that the Oil Road fails to offer much of an alternative.

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In part this is deliberate. The authors have clearly set out and they this very well to expose the reality of one part of the oil industry. But if humanity is to avoid catastrophic climate change, the Oil Road will need to be both explored and an alternative found. Other campaigns have been working on this and the Oil Road is an important weapon in these arguments. Perhaps one way of finding a solution is gathering some inspiration from the Bolsheviks and their nationalisation of the oil industry after the revolution. This is not to suggest that after the revolution greenhouse gas emissions could be tamed.

Rather it is to argue that the problem today are the private companies that destroy people and planet in the interest of profits. Taking control of the means of production is as important today as it was in Source: resolutereader np link. By no stretch of the imagination can it be described as a balanced account either of BP plc or the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline.