Caspian Oil in a Global Context

Transition Studies Review, Vol. 14, No. 1, May 2007

Posted: 30 Aug 2007

See all articles by Rudiger Ahrend

Rudiger Ahrend

Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities

William Tompson



This paper provides a brief overview of the political economy of Caspian oil. It begins by situating the Caspian region's oil sectors in the larger global market, before proceeding to examine the ways in which the Azerbaijani, Turkmen, and Kazakh oil sectors have been organised and governed since 1991. The paper then considers the likely consequences of recent policy shifts in Kazakhstan, the region's most important oil producer. A further section considers the questions of transport infrastructure and export routes, which remain particularly complex problems for Central Asia's landlocked producers. This is followed by a brief conclusion. The paper's central argument is that it is by no means certain that the Caspian region's hydrocarbon potential will be developed in a timely, economically efficient way. While the impact of geology, geography, and international price movements can hardly be ignored, policymakers can do much to raise or lower the long-term elasticity of the supply by the Commonwealth of Independent States. Unfortunately, policy in the region seems, on present trends, likely to lower it.

Keywords: Commonwealth of IndeCommonwealth of Independent States, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, pendent States, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan

JEL Classification: L71, O57, P28, Q41

Suggested Citation

Ahrend, Rudiger and Tompson, William, Caspian Oil in a Global Context. Transition Studies Review, Vol. 14, No. 1, May 2007, Available at SSRN:

Rudiger Ahrend (Contact Author)

Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities ( email )

2 rue Andre Pascal
Paris, 75016
75016 (Fax)

William Tompson

OECD ( email )

2 rue Andre Pascal
Paris Cedex 16, 75775

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