Black Gold
Photographs by Vincent Prado
Text by Dimitri Beck
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Today, corruption and inter-clan rivalries poison the affluence. An elite of ex-apparatchiks and oligarchs takes the lion’s share of money while, for the most part, the population waits in poverty for a better future.

In nearby Turkmenistan the Turkman wells spring up in the middle of a lunar-esque landscape. Camels compete for the road with Soviet "Mad Max" style trucks. Oil companies see this region as the future Kuwait of Central Asia due to its huge gas reserves and pipelines, resembling gigantic worms, burrow in and out of the Karakoum desert sands where caravans on the Silk Road once used to pass. At Turkmenbashi, the 50 year-old oil refinery is slowly falling apart. Thick fumes jet out of the fractured pipes in a chorus of hissing. Behind, a newly completed modern complex is made ready to house the workers.

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