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Quote rami Replybullet Topic: Interview with Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani
    Posted: 24 June 2008 at 9:29pm
Bi ismillahi rahmani raheem

assalamu alaikum

Today on the National Press Club Address the speaker was Graeme Samuel, Chairman, ACCC some of the questions directed at him where asked becouse of this interview so i thought id post it since its very interesting and insightfull.

World oil prices have hit record highs and people are beginning to feel the pinch. Protests have already broke out India, Spain and Portugal as consumers struggle to pay up at the bowser.

But who's behind the hike in petrol prices?

Have Your Say: Who is responsible for soaring oil prices - producers or speculators?

This week former Saudi Arabian oil minister Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani tells George Negus it's the futures market and speculators who are to blame.

Sheikh Yamani, who was responsible for Saudi Arabia's most lucrative portfolio from 1962 to 1986, has now headed up London's Center for Global Energy Studies (CGES) for 18 years.

He tells Dateline that market rumours are a major factor behind rising oil prices, and not the decisions of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Prime Minister Kevin Rudd recently called for OPEC's disbandment as the price of oil reached an unprecedented $140 per barrel.

The Sheikh discusses the impending 'end of the oil era', saying he intends to warn oil industry decision-makers they must do what they can to reduce its price at a conference in Jedda this weekend.


Earlier this week, oil hit a new record high, at nearly US$140 a barrel. And if all the panic's starting to remind you of the 70s oil crisis, you're not alone. One man who's been there and done that where oil is concerned is Sheikh Zaki Yamani. Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister for 25 years, the Sheikh led OPEC right through that turbulent time. Viewers among you with long memories will remember how world leaders waited with bated breath for his every word about the price of oil. Now, with OPEC, as we speak, under fire again, I caught up with the Sheikh from his home in the French Alps.

GEORGE NEGUS: Your Excellency, thank you very much for your time. As we speak the world is almost hyper-ventilating - it's gone into a spin over the price of oil, our PM Kevin Rudd has said that it is time to take a blowtorch - his words - to the OPEC organisation. Do you think that's really the answer or is he possibly targeting the wrong people?

SHEIKH ZAKI YAMANI, FORMER OPEC SECRETARY GENERAL: Well I think the main problem we have is the pricing of oil as it is now. I think it's wrong. It does not reflect the fundamentals of supply/demand.

GEORGE NEGUS: That's what people are struggling to understand? Why is it that at the moment that the price of oil seems to be out of control and is causing great difficulty for most people in government, in corporations and privately?

SHEIKH ZAKI YAMANI: Well, a combination of reasons. One of them - speculations. So many people, they go into this future market as if they go to a casino and they gamble. And the people all over the world must pay the price for what they are doing. This is number one. Number two - there is definitely a shortage of supply.

GEORGE NEGUS: So what you seem to be saying is that it's a combination of problems - there is a shortage of oil - that's true - but also the speculation in the market place.

SHEIKH ZAKI YAMANI: Yeah well in the market, in this future market, you have two kinds of groups. One is the oil companies and the others are the non-commercials like hedge funds, insurance companies and normal people. They inject billions of dollars every day in order to make profits. Sometimes they make it and sometimes they don't and then they spread some rumours about the possibility of invading Iran and problems in Nigeria and so on. And so the market is subject to rumours, not realities. They use any excuse, to push the price upward and they make money.

GEORGE NEGUS: Is this situation resolvable?

SHEIKH ZAKI YAMANI: When you have enough supply of oil then probably this will help. But in my opinion we have to change the pricing system that we have right now. This is a very wrong system. A small group of people, they raise the price of oil and the whole world will suffer from this.

GEORGE NEGUS: So what can be done to rectify that system to make oil affordable?

SHEIKH ZAKI YAMANI: Well I think if we can change this system. As a matter of fact, we've lived so long with wrong systems. We have to have a system far away from speculation which reflects the real supply/demand situation.

GEORGE NEGUS: In reality though, your Excellency, is it possible to control something like Wall Street.

SHEIKH ZAKI YAMANI: Well the future market is a major problem. I said there are different reasons, different kinds of problems. This is a major problem in my opinion.

GEORGE NEGUS: Excellency, people like Goldman Sachs are predicting that prices could go as high as $200 a barrel. That's a frightening figure.

SHEIKH ZAKI YAMANI: Well, when you are in a casino you can say anything.

GEORGE NEGUS: So you think that's possible?

SHEIKH ZAKI YAMANI: Well it depends on what will happen. When you have a very unstable situation in the Gulf and the expectation that there will be an attack on Iran and Iran will respond and if they do respond - it's $200, $300 per barrel, could be the result of that. But this is a big 'if'.

GEORGE NEGUS: Yes, it certainly is. That would be a worst of all scenarios, wouldn't it?

SHEIKH ZAKI YAMANI: One of them, but how about the situation in Iraq? In Iraq we don't know what will happen to that country.

GEORGE NEGUS: You in fact predicted that an invasion of Iraq would prompt a price of about $100 a barrel. That prediction has certainly reached reality. Is the war in Iraq partly to blame for the situation we find ourselves in now?

SHEIKH ZAKI YAMANI: Well, I think the invasion of Iraq was a major reason and a major cause of what is happening right now and I don't know what will happen. Of course, we will have to wait and see who will be the incoming president in the United States and what will be his policy, so to speak

GEORGE NEGUS: There are people in America of course who believe the speculators are not really responsible of any significant degree of the price movement, including people like the US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. So not a lot of people, in America at least, agree with your explanation for what's gone wrong.

SHEIKH ZAKI YAMANI: Well I don't know whether they believe or don't believe. I'm an objective person. I look at this situation objectively. I don't represent any side. Politics, when it comes, can change your mind and can make you think of one thing and another.

GEORGE NEGUS: Your Excellency, this weekend in Jeddah, the Saudis are hosting a gathering of the world's biggest petroleum producers and consumers to address this crisis. What if anything can a meeting like that do?

SHEIKH ZAKI YAMANI: Well I know the oil companies are really making a very lucrative amount of profit from the high price of oil. I don't that they're very keen to reduce the price of oil. The consumers are those who are the victims so I think that the producers, the governments, some of them, they're enjoying the high revenue that they get. They don't know that the price of this high revenue will be disastrous on them because it's encouraging the alternative sources of energy which is coming sometime in the future. How soon I don't know, but when it comes, the age of oil will come to an end.

GEORGE NEGUS: So you don't necessarily disagree with those who say that we might be seeing the beginning of the end of the era of oil as a source of energy?

SHEIKH ZAKI YAMANI: Of course when you have a very high price of oil - see what's happening - and every day we hear about a new invention here and there and they are reducing considerably their consumption of oil. But the day they use hydrogen for transportation, this is the day that oil disappears.

GEORGE NEGUS: Your Excellency, you've been in the oil game, for a number of decades now. If you were still in the position of authority, what would your advice be to the people gathering in Jeddah this weekend? In fact what's your advice generally for how the heck we get out of this awful bind?

SHEIKH ZAKI YAMANI: Well, I will definitely change the pricing system prevailing right now and number two, I will do my best to reduce the price of oil to expand the life span of oil at least for two decades or three decades.

GEORGE NEGUS: Your Excellency, we can only hope that somebody is listening to your advice and they take it this weekend and in the future. But thank you very much for talking to us, we appreciate it.

SHEIKH ZAKI YAMANI: Thank you very much. It's a pleasure.

GEORGE NEGUS: Hope you were paying attention, Kevin, and Brendan, for that matter. Sheikh Yamani was the guy, by the way, who came up with that memorable one-liner - 'the Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, 'and the oil age will end long before the world runs out of oil'.

Interview Producer/Researcher

Rasul Allah (sallah llahu alaihi wa sallam) said: "Whoever knows himself, knows his Lord" and whoever knows his Lord has been given His gnosis and nearness.
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Quote Angel Replybullet Posted: 26 June 2008 at 7:14am
I had replied to this in the other thread so i pasted it here and deleted it from there.
Originally posted by rami

Bi ismillahi rahmani raheem

Shaikh Ahmad Zaki Yemeni Saudi minister for oil from 1962 to 1986 was on Dateline recently, the interview can be found here.

GEORGE NEGUS: So you don't necessarily disagree with those who say that we might be seeing the beginning of the end of the era of oil as a source of energy?

SHEIKH ZAKI YAMANI: Of course when you have a very high price of oil - see what's happening - and every day we hear about a new invention here and there and they are reducing considerably their consumption of oil. But the day they use hydrogen for transportation, this is the day that oil disappears........

GEORGE NEGUS: Hope you were paying attention, Kevin [Australian prime minister], and Brendan [leader of the opposition party], for that matter. Sheikh Yamani was the guy, by the way, who came up with that memorable one-liner - 'the Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, 'and the oil age will end long before the world runs out of oil'.
A good point.
But I don't think the oil age will disappear, it maybe lessened, as many things we use today is made from crude oil. And as for airplanes, while they too are looking at ways to be more environmental friendly I don't think they can get rid of the current fuel for flying. I do hope some thing more better than oil does come along thou.
I read a small report today on biofuel, that it is not variable, nothing has gotten any better, it has increased commodities considerably, increased proverty and the climate is not any better. Although with the climate I thought it was too soon to get some kind of report.
~ Our feet are earthbound, but our hearts and our minds have wings ~
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