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Considering the serious consequences a crisis would have in such a domain, we think that measures must be taken in time to avoid it. We consider necessary that international trade be established — as it was the case, before the great misfortunes of the World — on an indisputable monetary base, and one that does not bear the mark of any particular country.

Which base? In truth, no one sees how one could really have any standard criterion other than gold. The erosion of confidence in the dollar-gold peg was called the Triffin Dilemma. To understand how quickly the U. Over the next decade, the price of gold steadily increased to all-time highs. In order to avoid global loss of confidence in the dollar, the dollar needed to be tied to a new commodity, something equally as universally demanded. Saudi Arabia was infuriated by U. Henry Kissinger led the diplomatic effort to end the embargo. In , a deal was struck to end the Saudi embargo and bring U.


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John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hitman and former economic hitman himself, summarized the deal aptly:. So they cut off our oil supplies. So some of you will remember these long lines at the gas stations and we feared, we were gonna have another depression like the depression. So the U. We knew this plan had to involve Saudi Arabia because it had more oil than anybody else and it also, the House of Saud, was corrupt and corruptible. The long version is explained in the book but the short version of what we did, the deal we finally struck with the House of Saud, was a deal whereby they would return almost all the money they made from selling to the U.

Treasury Department would use the interest from those securities, which over the years amounted to trillions of dollars, to hire us companies to westernize Saudi Arabia.

Build petrochemical complexes, desalination plants, whole cities out of the desert, McDonalds and all the other things that go along with our western culture. The House of Saud would also agree to keep the price of oil within limits acceptable to the oil companies, possibly not acceptable to you and me, but acceptable to the oil companies. And, this is very very important.


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They agree that they will never ever sell oil for anything other than U. Because we could not pay our debts to the European countries in gold, Nixon took us off the gold standard. You cannot buy oil on the world market for anything other than dollars. We, our part of the bargain was we agreed to keep the House of Saud in power, in control. It was an amazing deal, the deal of the century.

Crude oil is the most traded commodity in the world ; every country needs it. The petrodollar system requires every country to have U.

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It keeps demand for the U. If a country needs oil, it will have to manufacture and export a tangible good of value, like a car or a refrigerator, to the United States, while the U. Even more advantageous to the U. The deal with Saudi Arabia allowed the U. The takeaway from the petrodollar phenomenon is that as long as countries need oil, they will need the dollar. As long as countries demand dollars, the U.

But what happens if countries catch on to the scheme and try to break free of the petrodollar system?

Petrodollar Warfare

This was a logical move for Iraq as the country was under a brutal, U. Ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright. Iraq knew that the U. Army Col. Gordon Mereness is briefed on oil pipeline expansion possibilities near Bayji, Iraq, March 20, Sasa Kralj AP. By the late 90s, more than four-fifths of all foreign exchange transactions, and half of all world exports, were denominated in dollars.

Petrodollar Warfare: Oil, Iraq and the Future of the Dollar

In addition, the US currency accounts for about two thirds of all official exchange reserves. The world's dependency on US dollars to pay for trade has seen countries bound to dollar reserves, which are disproportionably higher than America's share in global output. The share of the dollar in the denomination of world trade is also much higher than the share of the US in world trade.

Petrodollar Warfare : Oil, Iraq and the Future of the Dollar by William R. Clark (2005, Paperback)

Moreover, the Euro-zone has a bigger share of global trade than the US and while the US has a huge current account deficit, the euro area has a more, or balanced, external accounts position. One of the more compelling arguments for keeping oil pricing and payments in dollars has been that the US remains a large importer of oil, despite being a substantial crude producer itself.

However, looking at the statistics of crude oil exports, one notes that the Euro-zone is an even larger importer of oil and petroleum products than the US. From the EU's point of view, it is clear that Europe would prefer to see payments for oil shift from the dollar to the euro, which effectively removed the currency risk. It would also increase demand for the euro and thus help raise its value. Moreover, since oil is such an important commodity in global trade, in term of value, if pricing were to shift to the euro, it could provide a boost to the global acceptability of the single currency.

Naturally, the future integration of these two countries into the Euro-zone and Europe will be important considering they are the region's two major oil producers in the North Sea, which is home to the international crude oil benchmark, Brent. This might create a momentum to shift the oil pricing system to euros.

Nevertheless, I believe that OPEC will not discount entirely the possibility of adopting euro pricing and payments in the future. The Organization, like many other financial houses at present, is also assessing how the euro will settle into its life as a new currency.

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The critical question for market players is the overall value and stability of the euro, and whether other countries within the Union will adopt the single currency. This would foster further ties between these trading blocs by increasing commercial exchange, and by helping attract much-needed European investment to the Middle East. Could one pricing system apply to the Western Hemisphere in dollars and for the rest of the world in euros? This will remain the test for the euro, should the currency gain ground in the market of oil transactions. Should the euro challenge the dollar in strength, which essentially could include it in the denomination of the oil bill, it could be that a system may emerge which benefits more countries in the long-term.

Perhaps with increased European integration and a strong European economy, this may become a reality. Time may be on your side. I wish the euro every success.

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Based on this important speech, momentum for OPEC to consider switching to the euro will grow once the E. This does not include other potential E. It should be noted that since late , the euro has been trading at parity or above the dollar, and analysts predict the dollar will continue its downward trending in relative to the euro. It appears the final two pivotal items that would create the OPEC transition to euros will be based on 1 if and when Norway's Brent crude is re-dominated in euros and 2 when the U. Regarding the later, Tony Blair is lobbying heavily for the U.

If and when the U.

Oil, Iraq and the Future of the Dollar

Again, I offer the following information from an astute individual who analyzes these international monetary matters very carefully:. Polls in Denmark now indicate that the euro would pass with a comfortable margin and Norwegian polls show a growing majority in favor of EU membership. Indeed, with Norway having already integrated most EU economic directives through the EEA partnership and with their strongly appreciated currency, their accession to the euro would not only be effortless, but of great economic benefit.

So long as the United Kingdom remains apart from the euro, reducing exchange rate costs between the euro and the British pound remains their obvious priority. British adoption a near-given in the long run would mount significant pressure toward repegging the Brent crude benchmark -- which is traded on the International Petroleum Exchange in London -- and the Norwegians would certainly have no objection whatsoever that I can think of, whether or not they join the European Union.