FAULT LINES & PIPELINES (56.46)
The beautiful and historic Caucasus Mountains are home to three major conflicts in the former Soviet Union, Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and Chechnya, and multiple minor struggles. Corruption is rampant and coups, random killing and kidnappings are so prevalent that foreigners in Georgia's capitol Tbilisi are warned not to walk after dark in its most affluent district, Rustaveli, more commonly referred to as the "red zone".
Intertwined in this convoluted political and geographic landscape is a significant portion of the world's known oil reserves. The Caspian Sea basin boasts great fields of crude and natural gas with one major caveat-there is no accessible sea route to get the precious energy sources to the world market.
Pipelines, constantly under sabotage, exist running east to west through the Caucasus valleys to the Black sea, while a more aggressive international pipeline project spanning the region is in various stages of planning and preparation. The Baku-Ceyhan pipeline will skirt four regional wars and numerous ethnic enclaves where war can break out at any moment.
Fault Lines and Pipelines examines this intriguing yet treacherous region in the context for a secure pipeline route.