Little-known to the outside world in the wake of the Soviet Union’s dissolution, Central Asia occupies a more prominent place in international affairs today. Its strategic importance in the geopolitical and energy calculi of Russia, China, and the United States, in addition to India, Turkey, Iran, and countries of Europe and Asia has grown in the recent decade. Among the five Central Asian republics, three have extensive oil and natural gas deposits. Kazakhstan’s Tengiz oil and gas field is the sixth largest oil field in the world. With over 170 oil fields, the country possesses nearly three percent of global oil reserves,2 and its proven gas reserves rank 15th in the world.3 In 2011, auditors from Gaffney, Cline & Associates estimated Turkmenistan’s gas reserves as second only to Russia’s proven natural gas reserves. The volume of Uzbekistan’s natural gas deposits is modest compared to the natural endowments of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. It nonetheless has an abundance of fossil fuels available for domestic consumption and export.