The Great Shake
There has been only one handshake in these modern times that has mattered.
“Good day everyone.”
One handshake that has amassed the power and wealth that influences us all.
“Thank-you everybody for coming.” The black-eyed Government Minister gives a look to all sides like he is definitely in charge. “Now let’s get started.” Like he is talking beyond just this crowded room. “This day is a first for the world.”
On November 27, 2014, an eighty-year Partnership that reaches into every corner of the globe is about to be broken.
“The Aramco Corporation has decided on a policy bereft of any limits.”
Shattered is less of an exaggeration for those around the world with a cunning eye, for those who realize the reverberations that will be felt from such a bold statement.
“Bereft of any quotas whatsoever going forward.”
A scrum of reporters scribble on their notepads as cameras click.
“We will continue to pump.”
His traditional all-whites, bright and pressed from head-to-toe… reflect a serious tone.
“We refuse to continue to subsidize all other Producers of the world.”
He looks like he’s speaking directly to somebody.
“As a policy for OPEC, and I convinced OPEC of this – even OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem al-Badri is now convinced that it is not in the interest of OPEC Producers to cut their production, whatever the price is.”
Everything we eat… everything we drive… everywhere we live.
“We are open for business to anybody who wants our product.”
The first and last shot across the bow has now been fired.
“Whether it goes down to fifty, forty, even twenty dollars, it is irrelevant.”
The ‘Great Shake’ broke into a million pieces that day – to this day I’m still amazed at the few who noticed.
Ancient ruins show that the handshake was practiced in Ancient Greece as far back as the 5th century BC; a depiction of two soldiers shaking hands can be found at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. The handshake is thought to have originated as a gesture of peace by a hand that holds no weapon.
Leaning-in with a grand gesture that is to shape the future… The President of the United States cements the ‘Great Shake’ with King Abd al-Aziz.
Here is that profitable journey.
1932 – Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud declares himself King and gives his name to the country – Saudi Arabia. Every Saudi King since has been a son of Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud.
1933 – Saudi Arabia and the U.S. establish diplomatic relations, subsequently the first foreign oil Prospectors arrive in the Kingdom. Ignoring criticism, King Abd al-Aziz invites U.S companies to develop Saudi oil. The Americans pay $170,000 in gold for land concessions that turn out to contain the biggest oil fields on earth.
1934 – American and Saudi governments set up a joint enterprise that later becomes the Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco). Its shareholders include America’s four largest oil corporations – Chevron, Exxon, Mobil and Texaco.
1945 – Americans need oil to win the war, and the Saudis need protection from vicious enemies both inside and out. Docked in the Suez Canal is the USS Quincy, where President Roosevelt signs an oil-for-security pact with the King.
1957 – Egypt’s Nasser overthrows his own Monarchy and declares himself a secular Pan-Arabist. He demands Saudi oil is for all Arabs. Eisenhower & Saud sign a more detailed military pact that exists to this day.
1960 – Chevron, Exxon, Mobil and Texaco become the largest Oil Companies in the World.
1970 – Dhahran military base is expanded considerably (and often over the decades) to protect the growing instability within the Kingdom.
September 11, 2001 – 15 of 19 hijackers are revealed as Saudi citizens.
The significance of those statements made by Saudi Arabia Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi in front of the world can never be under-estimated. Removing the economic protocols that have been in place for decades, extricating themselves from the quotas and protections that have validated ‘The Great Shake’ was leaving everyone scratching their heads.
How was American fracking going to survive?
How was Russia going to survive?
How was Iran going to survive?
Could OPEC even survive?
Could Saudi Arabia survive such a drop in revenue and still meet their national expenditures?
Could this threaten the Kingdom’s security?
Was this the biggest game of chicken ever played? Aimed at American frackers, Russian Oligarchs… and arch-nemesis Iran?
Could the world survive such a game?
Thirteen million barrels a day of the lowest cost oil anywhere – it’s their world… we’re just living in it.
Until a Pandemic changes everything.