Azerbaijan International

Spring 2002 (10.1)
Page 74

Business and Opportunities
Oil Odyssey

Above: On the Third Annual Oil Odyssey in August 2002, a group of brave riders will travel by motorcycle along the proposed Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline route, eventually ending up in Athens.

Take a dozen BMW-clone, WWII-era sidecar motorcycles, mix with international adventurers interested in oil and gas, politics and culture, stir with passion and salt with madness, and what do you get? Oil Odyssey 2002!

In the year 2000, they delivered the first symbolic barrel of Caspian crude down the Baku-Ceyhan [pronounced Jeyhan] line via a caravan of 12 sidecar motorcycles. Not content with that, in 2001, they delivered the first 1,000 cubic meters of natural gas down the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum line, and then continued on to Ceyhan.

But with a peculiar twist to the road: all along the way, the Magic Bus dance and song team from the Rashid Behbudov Theater entertained locals in refugee camps, forgotten towns and villages as well as major cities.

This year's Oil Odyssey ride will once again mirror the route of the proposed BTC and include all the elements that made Oil Odyssey 2000 and Oil Odyssey 2001 such successes: intellectual adventure, cultural connectivity between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey-and a rough and rugged good time.

And then carry on to Greece-yes, Greece. And that means Athens.

In celebration of the new Turco-Greek friendship, and in anticipation of the new gas line linking these two traditional rivals, the Turkish state pipeline company BOTAS has asked the Oil Odyssey Organization to deliver first gas down the Ankara-Athens pipeline route.

Plans for the ride are still being formulated, but a rough draft suggests a drop-clutch date in Shivas on September 4, 2002 after a magnificent parade, a ride through the wonders of Cappadocia up to Bursa, flanking the southern shore of the Sea of Marmara to the Dardanelles, skirting the Gallipoli battlefields and then roaring across Turkish and Greek Thrace to Thessaloniki and then down to Athens, arriving on September 12 to deliver the gas that will light up the Olympic Torch in 2004.

What about the return trip? Try a two or three section Athens-Istanbul five-day jaunt, followed by a more grueling week between Istanbul and Mt. Ararat, and finally a "Caucasus Classic" rally from the canyon-land of Artvin into and across gorgeous Georgia and a final return through the Lesser Caucasus Mountains into Azerbaijan and Baku circa October 11.

In the words of Oil Odyssey organizer Thomas Goltz: "Who says geopolitics can't be fun?"

For more information on rider participation in Oil Odyssey 2002, either as a driver or in a sidecar, and sponsorship possibilities, contact: Oil Odyssey Inc., 5 Old Clyde Park Rd., Livingston, MT 59047, USA. Tel: (406) 222-6460; in Baku: (994-50) 221-2838; or;


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