Citizens Facing Transnationals: BP and the Rights Struggle in Transcaucasia

16 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 16 Aug 2011

Date Written: 2011


This paper describes the fight of transnational civic networks to influence business development strategies and counter the threats to environmental and labor rights posed by the construction and exploitation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline in Transcaucasia. I start by discussing the role of civil society in the global struggle for sustainable development. I then present a brief overview of the geopolitical significance of the Transcaucasian-Caspian region in today's oil and gas markets. The case study looks at how the actions of international and domestic NGOs influenced the BTC's main shareholder and operator-company, British Petroleum (BP), as well as host countries' governments, to switch to more environmentally cognizant and socially responsive practices. I discuss internationalization of civil society networks in response to the looming environmental crisis in the region, using the BTC case as an illustration. The paper concludes by generalizing from this particular case study to the broader issue of transnational civic activism as a risk-mitigating factor in the world dominated by industry-related threats presented by globalization of the extractive technologies.

Keywords: IInternational civil society, transnational corporations, British Petroleum, Transcaucasia, Baku-Ceyhan pipeline

JEL Classification: F23, L31

Suggested Citation

Molchanov, Mikhail, Citizens Facing Transnationals: BP and the Rights Struggle in Transcaucasia (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN:
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