Time and Location

Thursday, 19 January 2017, 19:00 – 21:00
Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, Favoritenstraße 15a, 1040 Vienna


Philippe Le Billon
Department of Geography and Liu Institute for Global Issues, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Kanada

Manana Kochladze
Green Alternative and CEE Bankwatch Network, Tiflis, Georgien

Karin Fischer, Mattersburg Circle for Development Studies at Austrian Universities/VIDC

Martina Neuwirth, VIDC

Languages: English and German with simultaneous interpretation

Registration: neuwirth@remove-this.vidc.org

The Struggle over Oil – Conflicts, Profits and Alternatives

© huyangshu/Shutterstock.com
© huyangshu/Shutterstock.com



Our economic system is based on fossil-fuel energy use. Accordingly, governments and energy companies that control countries or areas with rich oil and gas reserves are extremely powerful. Multiple forms of violence, tax avoidance and capital flight accompany the history of resources exploitation and current business practices. The conflicts in South Sudan, Nigeria, Syria and the Ukraine have no doubt several reasons, but they are also “new energy wars”. The land and sea geography of 'choke points', or bottle-necks, and vulnerable parts in oil transportation networks has led to the set up of military bases and Navy patrols along key pipelines routes. At local level, resource extraction is often associated with expulsion and flight. Increasingly, private armies and security forces secure economically valuable territorial enclaves.

Manana Kochladze gave a voice to local people in her campaign against the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. Together with peasants and fishers, she mobilized against ecological destruction and dispossession. Philippe Le Billon supports a broad reform agenda, prioritizing the basic needs and security of local populations. He proposes new forms of oil governance in the interest of peace. The multiple forms of political, social and environmental conflicts through fossil fuel generation call for a transition to de-carbonized energy systems and sustainable development. The VIDC invites you to discuss conflicts and profits associated with fossil capitalism and ways to transcend it.


Philippe Le Billon

is professor at the University of British Columbia (UBC) with the Department of Geography and the Liu Institute for Global Issues. Before joining UBC, he was a Research Associate with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London. He did fieldwork in Angola, Cambodia, Iraq, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, and in former-Yugoslavia. He works on the relations between environment, development and security, with an empirical focus on primary commodities. Beside his research on social, environmental and development challenges associated with commodity extraction, Philippe Le Billon is also involved in policy reforms in resource governance.

Manana Kochladze

is a member of CEE Bankwatch, the largest network of grassroots and environmental groups in Central and Eastern Europe. She works as Regional Coordinator for the Caucasus in the thematic areas energy, transport and international finance. She is the co-founder and chairwoman of the Tbilisi-based environmental group Green Alternative. In 2004 Manana was honored with the Goldman Environmental Prize in recognition of her campaigning work on the controversial Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. Manana graduated in 1994 with an MSc degree in Biology from Tbilisi State University. She is the author of several publications focusing on resource extraction and environmental problems.

Karin Fischer

is the head of the Politics and Development Research Department at the Institute of Sociology at Linz University as well as a consultant to the VIDC. She is the chairwoman of the Mattersburg Circle for Development Studies at Austrian Universities.