The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.


All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2021 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Boom or bust in the Caspian?

Bullish predictions of the size of Caspian oil reserves made in the 1990s now look greatly exaggerated. With the BTC pipeline linking Azerbaijan to Turkey opening this year, Julian Evans asks just how much oil there is in the region, and whether there will be any more finance deals anything like the size of BTC.

IN THE MID-1990s, the eyes of the world turned to central Asia, to countries most people could barely spell let alone place on a map – Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan. These countries, newly liberated from the Soviet Union, were said to be home to fabulous energy reserves.

A report from the US State Department claimed that offshore the Caspian Sea there were reserves of as much as 200 billion barrels of oil – enough to rival reserves in the Persian Gulf.

Suddenly, the future of the Caspian littoral states, and of their oil, became a matter of great importance to the west and, in particular, the US. In 1998, the CEO of Halliburton, Dick Cheney, said: "I cannot think of a time when we have had a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian."

Commentators quickly dubbed the jostling between nations and oil companies for position in the region a new Great Game, rivalling the competition between Russia and the UK for influence in the region in the late 19th century.

At the centre of this Great Game, supposedly, was the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, which would take Azerbaijan's great oil wealth via Georgia to Turkey's Mediterranean coast.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.

SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TODAY

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually

FREE 7 DAY TRIAL

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors

LOGIN NOW

Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree