As the world's major oil supplies dry up or are threatened by war, the huge oil reserves of the Caspian Sea have caught the eye of international businesses and governments.
Estimated to have the equivalent of three North Sea's worth of oil, scores of major companies have set up in the Azeri city of Baku to take advantage of the boom.
Although an international oil consortium has been set up to avoid conflict some experts believe the region could become as volatile as the Middle East in the next century.
For this new floating oil platform the calm waters of the Caspian are ideal for exploration and drilling.
It's part of the region's third oil boom which started with the fall of the Soviet Union.
International oil companies have flooded in since 1991 to tap he area's rich reserves on land and under the sea.
Both Russia and America have formed foreign policy around the region, well aware that the development of oil resources can create tensions which often lead to hostilities.
Regional rivals Turkey, Russia and Iran are vying for control of the oil exports in an effort to gain the upper-hand in the region and to secure influence over the former Soviet republics of Central Asia.
But the Azerbaijani president Geidar Aliyev says that a combination of he new wealth brought to his country by the oil boom and his firm rule will ensure stability rather than conflict.
\"I don't think Azerbaijan is threatened by the danger of a North-South conflict or between different countries. I don't think it's a reality but I can't guarantee against that possibility.\"
SUPER CAPTION: Geidar Aliyev, Azeri President
The oil reserves in this part of the world are so great that no single company could efficiently exploit them.
So U-S, Russian, Japanese, British, Saudi, Turkish and Azerbaijani interests have created an international consortium.
Businessmen hope international cooperation will help keep the region politically quiet and eventually turn it into a major supplier of high-grade oil for world markets.
\"I think that you can see from the international interest in the Caspian at this point in time how important this is going to be as a long term resource centre to supply global oil. It's also coming onto the market , onto the global market at a time when other major basins such as the North Sea, such as Alaska etc are going into significant decline.\"
SUPERCAPTION: Terry Adams, head of international oil consortium
Turkey and Russia are engaged in a bitter battle to export the Caspian oil to Europe via pipelines through their own territories.
So far the international consortium has not decided on the long term solution, but early oil exports will go through Russia and Georgia.
Political analysts are not that optimistic of stability in the region as the people of the Caspian have along history of confrontation and full-scale wars, often triggered by rivalry over who would control the oil wells.
\"It is a danger that the region could become as explosive as the Middle East. You have all the same ingredients which are available in the Middle East. You also have a long history of rivalry between Turkey and Iran, Russia and the West.\"
SUPER CAPTION: Viktor Trenin, Carnegie Institute Moscow
It remains to be seen whether economic expediency and common sense will prevail in regional politics over centuries of animosity and mistrust.
For the time being, Azerbaijan is looking to the future full of hope.
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