The Oil Hits the Fan
Oil Pipeline Through Georgian Republic Runs Into Trouble
A $3 billion, 1,000-mile pipeline — slated to be pumping oil from the newly opened Caspian oilfields through Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey to the world market by April 2005 — has run into a whole mess of trouble. Environmentalists and many local groups are incensed that the pipeline, being built by BP, is set to run through the Borzhomi mountain gorge, a pristine and landslide-prone area that is the source of Borzhomi mineral water (Georgia’s third-largest export) and many of the region’s tourism dollars. Farmers are incensed that the land-development grants distributed by BP — originally seen as an economic boon to the poverty-stricken villagers — have been swallowed by a notoriously corrupt and rickety government and judicial system poorly equipped to handle them. Georgian construction workers are incensed about what they claim are poor working conditions and compensation plans. Meanwhile, Western officials are incensed that their oil’s getting held up. What’s the Georgian word for “fubar”?