Copyright © 1988 Katherine Neville
[ Chapter 2: Pawn To Queen's Fourth ]
Excerpt: pgs. 26-27
... You dug a hole in the ground and oil came out, how tough
was that? But it would be a painful experience, if all the books
I read were as scintillating as the one before me:
In 1950, Arabian light crude sold for $2 per bbl. And in
Fascinating. But what I found truly fascinating was what the
1972 it is still selling for $2 per bbl. This makes Arabian
light crude one of the world's few significant raw
materials subject to no inflationary increase in a
similar period of time. The explanation for this
phenomenon is the rigorous control that has been
placed by the world governments upon this
fundamental raw product.
book did not explain. Something, indeed, that was not explained
in any of the books I'd read that night.
Arabian light crude, it seems, was a kind of oil. It was in fact
the most highly prized and sought-after oil in the world.
The reason the price had remained the same for over twenty
years was that the price was not controlled by the people
who bought it or by the people who owned the land it sat
beneath. It was controlled by the people who distributed it,
the infamous middlemen. And it always had been.
There were eight large oil companies in the world. Five were
American; the remaining three were British, Dutch, and French.
Fifty years earlier some of these oilmen had decided, during a
grouse shoot in Scotland, to divide up the world's oil distribution
and get off each other's toes. A few months later they convened at
Ostend with a chap named Calouste Gulbenkian, who had
arrived with a red pencil in his pocket. Taking it out, he drew what
was later called "the Thin Red Line" around a chunk of the world
that contained the old Ottoman Empire, now Iraq and Turkey, and
a good slice of the Persian Gulf. The gentlemen divided it up
and drilled a hole. The oil gushed out in Bahrain, and the
race was on. ... --