IRAN EURO-BASED OIL BOURSE OPENING “DELAYED” IN SUPRISE, ALMOST UNREPORTED MOVE
Nearby Qatar Announces Plans to Open Similar Bourse – Assume It Will be Dollar-Based
Michael C. Ruppert
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March 22, 2006 0700 PST (FTW) - ASHLAND -It was quite a shock this morning to open my emails and see the following story. One would have thought that such news would have been both foretold and more widely publicized. The opening of the Iranian oil bourse had been reported in major publications from all over the world for about eight months. The announced opening date was set for March 20th, yesterday.
And today we see this:
Iran denies reports it will open euro oil exchange
19:15 | 20/ 03/ 2006
TEHRAN, March 20 (RIA Novosti) - Iran denied Monday media reports that it was to open a euro-based oil exchange.
"We have no information on opening an oil exchange in the free economic zone on Kish Island [southern Iran]," a spokesman for the Iranian Oil Ministry told RIA Novosti.
He said the ministry would have had been informed if the exchange had opened.
The spokesman said the exact date of the oil exchange opening on Kish Island was still unknown.
Some media reported Monday that oil would be traded exclusively in the European currency at the Iranian exchange.
Experts said the transition to euro from dollar in payments for oil could cause a default of the U.S. currency. All oil deals are currently made in dollars, allowing Washington to maintain permanent demand for the national currency.
I did a quick internet search and, after having confirmed that the first story was authentic, I came across this:
March 21, 2006
Qatar to establish Middle East's first international energy bourse
Qatar will establish an international energy bourse, first of its kind in the Middle East region, the Qatar News Agency reported Tuesday.
Gulf Energy, a global consortium of energy consultants and investors, signed Tuesday with the Qatar Financial Center Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of the bourse, said the report.
The bourse is expected to be established as part of the Energy City project in Qatar, which is the first project to be carried out by the Gulf Energy.
According to the signed document, the QFCRA will be responsible for preparing the necessary procedures for organizational activities of the bourse, which will be specialized in the energy industry trade.
Qatari Minister of Economy and Commerce Sheikh Mohammed bin Ahmad bin Jassem Al-Thani was quoted as saying that the bourse is considered an important step with the country's plan to become one of the largest liquefied gas exporter by 2010.
Qatar also seeks to be a leading producer and exporter of oil products in order to meet the demands of the energy products and provide financial services that would go in line with the high international standards, the minister added.
Gulf Energy said the project would "raise the global stakes of Middle East's energy sector, reshape the dynamics of its oil and gas business and expand its role in the management of resources."
What gives? There aren’t enough details in the story about Qatar to conclude anything except that something’s moving under the carpet.
Whatever it is, it is well-hidden and FTW doesn’t have enough information to even speculate (so we won’t). I had been concerned that I had seen no anticipatory stories appearing in the week prior to the Iranian bourse’s scheduled opening; It would have been hard to keep that out of the trades.
While all of us are scratching our heads on this one, there was one observer (that we’re aware of) named Jim Willie who called this and offered a pretty reasonable explanation on March 2nd. Willie attributed the “delay” in the opening not to pressure (either overt or covert) from the US, but to the fact that the opening of Iran’s International Oil Exchange (IOX) would deprive corrupt mullahs of convenient revenue streams. He posed the issue as a problem between Iran’s president Ahmadinejad and the mullahs only. Inasmuch as Willie called the “no open” event correctly, we’ll yield to his explanation about the reasons why until some other credible explanation surfaces. It is not easy to get information out of Iran.
Like the rest of us, Willie was apparently unaware of the Qatari announcement today, and that one has apparently caught everyone flat-footed. I should note that Chinese news services are the only ones reporting on the Qatari development as of this writing.
All of the concerns about the IOX and its impact on the dollar and US economy are still well-founded. But, as of this moment, one of the main reasons for the US to even consider launching an ill-considered attack on Iran has vanished.