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Aliyev re-elected as President for another 7 years – the chain of oil autocracy that binds Azerbaijan

Aliyev re-elected as President for another 7 years – the chain of oil autocracy that binds Azerbaijan

On 18th April Ilham Aliyev will be inaugurated for the fourth time as President of Azerbaijan. His re-election comes as no surprise. It is so predictable that it barely counted as ‘news’ and consequently got next to no coverage in the international media. Originally the election was scheduled for 17th October, but at nine weeks...
The slow dismantling the house of oil - The Gulbenkian Foundation divests

The slow dismantling the house of oil – The Gulbenkian Foundation divests

Quite unexpected comes remarkable news! Lucy Neal, a long-term part of the Platform family, e-mails out of the blue, forwarding an article from the Algarve Daily News, published on 1st February in southern Portugal. The headline reads: ‘Gulbenkian Foundation gets out of the oil business’ That truly is unexpected. Lucy had not foreseen this coming...
Possess the Bay! Taking control of the Oil Road in Falmouth

Possess the Bay! Taking control of the Oil Road in Falmouth

Platform was invited to present to the Geohack workshops that are part of the Fascinatecon conference in Falmouth this week. A version of the following was given via skype by James Marriott to an audience of ‘artists, gamers, historians, performance-makers, seafarers, landlubbers, the flooded and the landlocked’ in the Performance Centre, Penryn Campus, University of...
European Public Bank promises €700 million for the Euro-Caspian Mega Pipeline

European Public Bank promises €700 million for the Euro-Caspian Mega Pipeline

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has promised up to €700 million for the disastrous Euro-Caspian Mega Pipeline. In a statement the Managing Director for Energy at the public bank said “the EBRD will invest €600-700 million in the Trans Adriatic Pipeline.” The Euro-Caspian Mega Pipeline (ECMP) is a huge piece of infrastructure...
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...
The Arctic in New York - shareholders scrutinise Shell’s next move

The Arctic in New York – shareholders scrutinise Shell’s next move

Mika Minio-Paluello, Anna Galkina and James Marriott travelled in 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. The eighth of a series of blogs on the journey comes from New York… It was Maurice Bridgeman who really...
BP is planning a $40 bn pipeline and wants us to subsidise it

BP is planning a $40 bn pipeline and wants us to subsidise it

BP pushed for major subsidies at the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) AGM in Istanbul last weekend, while hyping the grand scale of its Euro-Caspian Mega Pipeline plans. Between speeches by Prime Ministers and sessions on “Supporting Growth Amidst Austerity”, oil companies revealed their intentions to spend $40 billion expanding Europe’s gas grid...
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”...