By someone at The Times…..to tell me that they are not charging yet, you only have to register.
Which means that I find this from Mr. Kaletsky:
BP’s much -touted $45 million investment in Solarex, the world’s biggest solar-energy company, was minuscule compared with the $70 billion the company paid at around the same time to buy the US oil giants Amoco and Arco, making BP the biggest US oil producer.
So when I asked the oil company chairman my question, I expected the oilman to scoff at the very idea that new technologies would ever replace fossil fuels. Instead his response seemed more sophisticated, but was actually more naive. He conceded that alternative energy sources might displace oil, but the prospects of success for any particular technology were too uncertain and financially risky for his shareholders to stomach.
Which is an excellent and very sensible answer from the oilman. Oilco shares are largely held by pension and insurance funds: the \”widows and orphans\” type of investments. High dividend yield, stable (pace BP) etc.
The typical risk profile of someone investing in alternative methiods, in start ups with new technologies is entirely different. It\’s right that management doesn\’t take the second types of risks with the money of people who thought they had invested in the first kind.
And energy companies — instead of wasting more than $100 billion a year on exploration for oil reserves outside the easily accessible fields in Opec countries — would invest their vast cashflows in new technologies.
No, that wouldn\’t be rational. Although stopping the exploration might be: if they then simply sweat the assets for dividends and let shareholders invest that money in what they would like: consumption, alternative energy or roof insulation, whatever.
But whether, when the paying comes, I\’m willing to pay to point out the errors is, well, when I\’ve a whole Guardian full of things to snark at, will it be worth it?
Although I should point out that Danny F is very good today.