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Iran shifts oil sales away from dollar

MMM/JG/GM, Iran Press TV
Deputy head of the National Iranian Oil Company for international affairs says Iran has completely dropped dollar in its oil sales.

“We issue invoices in dollars and agree with clients that the letters of credit and other means of payment will have a non-dollar basis,” he said.

In an interview with The Financial Times, Hojjatollah Ghanimifard said that over the past three months, Iran has received 75 percent of the proceeds from its oil sales in euros and the remaining 25 percent in the Japanese currency, yen.

Analysts are of the view that Iran’s oil revenues have enabled the country to bear the costs of UN sanctions and US attempts to prevent dollar transactions through third party banks.

Ali Shams-Ardakani, head of the energy committee of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, said the move away from the dollar was “absolutely right” and was economically justifiable on the grounds that it helped prevent losses due to the fall in the value of the US currency. “It should have happened much earlier,” FT quoted him as saying.

Ghanimifard did not deny there have been some problems for Iran in opening letters of credit but did not elaborate on the extent of the problem or which banks were involved.

“Sanctions could not harm our exports and those banks that have problems issuing letters of credit for our clients are the ones that lose income,” he said, insisting that trying different channels did not cost Iran “even one single cent”.

“We understood that money does not exist only in the west,” Ghanimifard said.
(2X February 2008)
Press-TV is a news outlet of the Iran government (Iran’s Press TV to start global broadcasts on July 2).

I notice they have a section devoted to Energy (under Economy). -BA

Pipe dreamers
It’s time the conspiracy theorists accepted that oil had nothing to do with the US invasion of Afghanistan

Conor Foley, Guardian
… According to this theory, the US did not intervene in Afghanistan in response to the attacks of September 11 2001, but at the behest of the oil company Unocal in order to facilitate the building of a pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan.

…But, even on its own terms, the theory makes absolutely no sense. It is true that Unocal, for which Karzai never worked, was interested in building a pipeline in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s. And a case can be made that the Clinton administration was prepared to overlook the Taliban’s appalling human rights record, at this time because it hoped that the stability this might bring to the country could facilitate the project.

However, it takes quite a leap from here to argue that this is also why US policy then underwent a complete volte face from supporting the Taliban to overthrowing it.

Yet this is what a sizeable number of people believe.

…There is, in fact, nothing to suggest that oil formed any significant part of US policy towards Afghanistan.

Oil certainly was an important factor in the invasion of Iraq, and the occupying forces took care to guard the country’s oil installations while everything else descended into chaos. However, this is in complete contrast to Afghanistan, where US forces have been concentrated in the south and east, battling with the Taliban.
(29 February 2008)

Oil money is coming – and there is little the west can do about it

Larry Elliott, The Guardian
Energy producing countries are buying global power after decades of subjugation

Larry Summers was in full flow. Addressing a packed meeting on sovereign wealth funds at the Davos gathering of the World Economic Forum in January, the former US treasury secretary told the investment arms of foreign governments they should sign up to a code of conduct and be more transparent.

In a telling sign of the shift in the balance of global economic power, the sovereign wealth funds told Summers to get lost.

The Saudis accused him of double standards: hedge funds were not being regulated despite causing mayhem in the financial markets, so why pick on SWFs? The Russians – revelling in Washington’s discomfort – said American attempts to restrict investment were “not helpful”.

This week the fears resurfaced.
(1 March 2008)
The Guardian also has Graphic: World map showing state-owned funds. (PDF)