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Page added on August 29, 2007

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The Oil Drum: How To Get A Pipeline Built

There are regularly stories in the media or in the blogosphere about various pipeline projects that are announced with much publicity, and are seen to have major strategic consequences, or conversely about projects that are more discreet but are seen as the “real” justification for various military or diplomatic acts. For instance, the announcement last month of an agreement between Russia and several central Asian republics about a new pipeline was widely interpreted as a major move against European energy security. Similarly, the war in Afghanistan has often been blamed on a long mooted Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan pipeline.

These analyses (which are absurd to anyone with a basic knowledge of the oil&gas industry) completely ignore the dynamics of what it takes to actually get a pipeline deal done, and what it means for relations between the parties involved. Therefore they fail to understand the significance (or lack thereof) of announcements by energy companies or governments and wrongly interpret the geopolitical implications of both pipelines, and announcements of pipelines.

So, in order to help oildrummers better interpret pipeline news, here’s a primer on why and how pipelines get built – which essentially means how they get financed.

The Oil Drum

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