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All that Glitters. Azerbaijan and the Olympics

All that Glitters. Azerbaijan and the Olympics

Landing at Heydar Aliyev Airport in Baku I thought I knew what to expect. This was my second trip to Azerbaijan’s capital city, and I still had vivid memories of my first, the year before. Back then, I arrived at night and Baku seemed like one of the most opulent places on earth. The drive...
Richmond, California - winning against big oil

Richmond, California – winning against big oil

The most rewarding part of touring our book The Oil Road, for me, has been learning from experiences of people we visit. The book tour becomes part of the Road. Two weeks ago we presented the book in the San Francisco Bay Area, where tankers deliver crude from around the world, including the Ceyhan terminal...
Slow travel across the Atlantic: The Independent Voyager

Slow travel across the Atlantic: The Independent Voyager

Mika Minio-Paluello, Anna Galkina and James Marriott are heading to North America as part of a tour over September and October to promote The Oil Road – Journeys from the Caspian to the City of London. You can find more info about their confirmed speaking dates in Virginia, the Bay Area, New Orleans, Baltimore and...
Top 12 journeys on The Oil Road - Travel writing around the Mediterranean & the Caspian

Top 12 journeys on The Oil Road – Travel writing around the Mediterranean & the Caspian

A heavily shortened version of this list by James Marriott and Mika Minio-Paluello first appeared in the Guardian in January 2012. In researching The Oil Road – Journeys from the Caspian Sea to the City of London, we feasted on others’ descriptions of the mountains and plains, villages and cities, open seas and jagged coastlines...
The Oil Road - reviews, interviews and analysis

The Oil Road – reviews, interviews and analysis

 The Oil Road has been getting an incredible response from the press, blogs and activists alike. We’ve cobbled together a selection of the best quotes from reviews with links to  the full articles. “An elegantly written travel book…a distinctive blend of travelogue, reportage and history…will make you think the next time you fill the tank”...
Bust-up between Aliyev and BP reveals corporate profiteering as Azeri oil peaks

Bust-up between Aliyev and BP reveals corporate profiteering as Azeri oil peaks

Azerbaijan’s President, Ilham Aliyev, gave a speech last week accusing oil company BP of “false promises” and “gross mistakes”. In a country where regime and corporation are closely intertwined – and almost symbiotic – what is going on behind the political theatre? Why the public outburst? Aliyev revealed that Azerbaijan had lost $8 billion in...
BP's Caucasus gas pipeline blows up, as conflict escalates along route

BP’s Caucasus gas pipeline blows up, as conflict escalates along route

A blast on the Turkish section of BP’s South Caucasus Gas Pipeline has shut down fuel exports, putting a stop to gas exports from  Azerbaijan to Turkey. The explosion took place in a forest between the villages of Yagbasan and Catag, in remote north-eastern Turkey, near the borders with Georgia & Armenia. The Turkish Ministry...
Bowing to a dead dictator: pipelines, personality cults and the US Ambassador

Bowing to a dead dictator: pipelines, personality cults and the US Ambassador

Azeri democracy activists were enraged when in September, the new US Ambassador to Baku bowed down in front of the memorial to the late dictator Heydar Aliyev, father of the current dictator Ilham Aliyev.  The State Department initially tried to claim that Richard Morningstar had only laid a wreath of flowers at the memorial to...
Thatcher in Baku: How BP broke into Azerbaijan

Thatcher in Baku: How BP broke into Azerbaijan

The blog is based on an excerpt from The Oil Road – published with Verso on Sept 20.   ‘Lady Thatcher clearly remains a formidable foreign policy weapon for UK Ltd!’ (Foreign Office internal memo 24 September 1992) Internal Foreign Office documents obtained by Platform while researching The Oil Road reveal just how BP utilised...