Il petrolio e la gloria di Steve LeVine

Con­de Nast Port­fo­lio | Novem­bre 2007 | Andy Young |

The Caspian Sea region’s oil was com­mer­cia­li­zed in 1886, when Zey­na­lab­din Tagiyev—known as the Azer­bai­ja­ni Eunuch Maker—struck a gusher that spewed more cru­de into the sea than all the world’s func­tio­nal wells were pro­du­cing at the time. As LeVine’s enga­ging account details, the area has sin­ce been disco­ve­red, plun­de­red, and for­got­ten time and again. But now, with the ope­ning of the Baku-Cey­han pipe­li­ne in spring 2006, the Caspian may well be the key to our ener­gy inde­pen­den­ce from the Midd­le East. A for­mer Wall Street Jour­nal wri­ter, LeVi­ne brings this all ali­ve by intro­du­cing us to regio­nal strong­men, Ame­ri­can fixers, Western oil-com­pa­ny exe­cu­ti­ves, and sha­dy ener­gy tra­ders who, sin­ce the brea­kup of the Soviet empi­re, have jostled for Cen­tral Asia’s enor­mous oil pri­ze whi­le Mother Rus­sia looms mena­cin­gly in the back­ground. The deft poli­ti­cal por­trait of this stra­te­gic, vola­ti­le area makes the book essen­tial rea­ding, but it’s LeVine’s fine wri­ting that makes it a plea­su­re.