There is a fascinating story about Kazakhstan, Chevron, Russia and oil in Business Week. It helps put the war in Georgia in perspective. Here is an excerpt of the article that sets the stage for what follows:
Yet getting the oil out of the landlocked country has always been a tricky affair: Russia has blocked, stalled, and restricted the flow of Tengiz oil through its territory since the first day Chevron took over the field. Teaming up with the Kazakhs, Chevron has resorted to shipping some of its oil across the Caspian Sea to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, and then via pipeline and railroad to Georgia’s Black Sea coast in an effort to avoid Russia. These days, Chevron does ship most of its oil through Russia, but for safety’s sake it hopes to build a long, new pipeline across Georgia and export more through that route.
Here is a good map showing export possibilities.
This lengthy article is well worth the read. The ramifications of what happens here will undoubtedly have a dramatic effect on the rest of the world.