The “black gold” trade was discussed by SPIEF participants. Experts say it is in St. Petersburg that the body organizing purchases and sales of oil must be placed at,
Yuriy Zinchuk, “pulse of the city” host: “Lets look at another thing which was not directly connected with the Forum, but nonetheless was actively discussed during it. We’re talking of realization of Russian oil lobby’s plans, which would cancel US dollar’s monopoly on forming the price of oil. I’d like to remind that in the 1970s the US State Secretary Henry Kissinger performed a cunning stunt. He made a deal with the Saudi Royal Family so that the world oil market used only US dollars for trade. The USSR had barely any reaction to that. That is because the Soviet Union was a megaempire of its own closed economic system and it was not interested in what currency would be used to trade in oil sphere. But times have changed, and now oil is the blood of Russia’s economy. And now there’s an idea – what if we surpass this rule of the Americans and start trading oil not in dollars, but in rubles. And a dollar-free trading center could be set up not in Moscow or China, but in St. Petersburg. You’d think this is an utopia. But no. This topic was seriously discussed at the Forum. And those were international sanction which facilitated these talks. Our observer Alexey Mikhalyov eavesdropped on these behind-the-scenes conversations of oil experts and members of the oil lobby”
This word was audible in the Forum’s chambers and every second discussion inevitably came down to this painful subject. Sanctions. The life under them and what could they be countered with. And, after all, could we do without the dollar? The deal struck recently in China opened new horizons. The yuan-ruble tandem became foreseeable.
Arkadiy Dvorkovich, deputy Prime-Minister of Russia: “We have agreed a mutual trade in yuan and ruble with China. This means a gradual step-off from dollars and Euros”.
Alexey Ulyukayev mentioned this partial step-off from the dollar back in March, suggesting trade in national currencies between partner states. Calls to push dollar even further aside sounded later. Igor Sechin is named as the flagman of the unprecedented special operation. Last week he was named chairman of the board of directors of St. Petersburg’s international goods and raw materials trading house.
Alexey Rybnikov, president of St. Petersburg’s international goods and raw materials trading house: “Now we could go back to goals which were set by president Putin in 2006 – the Russian stock market must be trading the main goods of Russia’s raw materials and goods export. In rubles. And on our territory”
In 1974 the US State Secretary Henry Kissinger persuaded the Saudi Royal Family to sell oil exclusively in dollars. The rule – which is 40 years old and being followed by the whole world – was abolished in St. Petersburg. Only partially for now
German Gref, chairman of “Sberbank Rossii”: “The idea that we can quickly pull it off is utopic. This will take time”
Alexey Kudrin, former finance minister of Russia (2000-2011): “In the next 30 years the world will not stop using the dollar. The rest depends on USA’s competitiveness. The world is stuck with the dollar for a long time”
Why was St. Petersburg chosen as the base of operations – not Shanghai, Beijing or Moscow? China wasn’t considered due to strategic reasons. The Moscow Stock Exchange is a conductor of its own ideas in economy. In a situation like this Igor Sechin chose his native St. Petersburg. Where the building of the trading house and the “Finansist” residential block at the Sobchak square remind of the 1st mayor’s brave dreams
Yakov Markov, professor of inter-bank institute: “Economists were saying in the 1990-s – if we wanted to have a good economy, oil had to be traded in a trading house. Here, so to speak. But oil companies were reluctant to do that because then all economy would have been transparent and clear to everyone”
But eve today – when there’s a will and a concrete task – it will not be easy to accomplish. That is according to one of the renowned finance ministers
Alexey Kudrin, former finance minister of Russia (2000-2011): “You would think – where’s St. Petersburg and where’s oil. Geological parties, oil fields romance, oil brokers and a Wall-street-type passion – it is immensely far away from St. Petersburg. But its oil heritage is far more assuring than all these clichés”
Alexey Mikhalyov, reporter: “In 1865, at St. Petersburg University, Dmitriy Mendeleev defended a dissertation named “Thoughts on combining spirit and water”, which paved way to 2 myths. One was that Mendeleev was a bootlegger and forged French wines upon trader Eliseev’s orders. Another one was that he created the original recipe of the Russian vodka, 40% alcohol level and so on. The truth is that the dissertation had no mention of vodka. Mendeleev got back to it during research of oil. The oil was extracted at the Caucasus, but the brain center was here. Hence, from the two main liquids of Russia it is oil which has a direct connection to St. Petersburg”