OT: Price fixing by the oil refineries?

PrecisionmachinisT wrote:


No, it's pure politics of envy. It has nothing to do with revenue or prices; it's the liberals' way of punishing the oil companies for having "too much money."
Hope This Helps! Rich
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I get sick of hearing billions of dollars in profits w/o hearing the rest of it.
A business man would tell you x amount of profit on sales of y, a politute will use half that information to inflame those than vote on the basis of envy.
Wes
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wrote:

Or he'll tell you x amount of profit on investment (ROI). If he's in a high-sales-volume business and he's trying to impress stockholders, he'll talk ROI. If he's in that same business and he's crying about taxes, he'll talk return on sales.
The health care insurance industry is even worse than the oil industry in playing this game. They talk about return on "sales." But they don't really have sales. Their "volume" is a pass-along -- the money they take from the insured and pass on directly to doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies. The profit figure that results actually looks quite low.
But they're trying to compare themselves to a manufacturing business, or a service business that actually *does* something for that money, like making a product or actually providing a service.
They don't. Their service is in managing the pass-through machine. It's a small fraction of all of the money that runs through their hands. So their actual return on the service they provide can be very large, and typically is. Their ROI can be extraordinary.
But ROI often has little meaning, because of the characteristic of industries that keep funding new projects with new equity investments. The accounting here gets very sticky, and the problem in actually measuring profitability of these companies is a much darker art than most of us realize -- something that economists have only recently gotten serious about:
http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/news/research/acctg_rajan_reichelstein_soliman_roi.shtml
You can be sure that these issues have been turned into a smoke-and-mirrors game in the political equations related to the oil industry tax breaks. Whenever we hear someone talk about "profit on sales," we know that one of two things is going on: Either they're involved in a comparative business analysis, making a point about how well-run one company in an industry is versus another, or they're engaging in some kind of special pleading and they're trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Guess which one the oil companies are doing. d8-)
--
Ed Huntress



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Well, I don't envy the rich at all.
--it's just that I despise anyone who always weasels out instead of carrying his weight when it come tax time.
--




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On 05/18/2011 01:16 AM, Rich Grise wrote:

Then someone should tell them what Snag said upthread: -----------------------------------------
in rec.crafts.metalworking the following:
Interesting how in Sept 2008, one can trace the sudden, and rather steep (nay, precipitous) decline in crude oil prices. Started about a day or two after President Bush signed an executive order lifting those restrictions on off shore drilling which were policy and not matters of law. Going going ... Sept 19 "Cushing Spot" oil is 104 a barrel, 90 days later it is $36 a barrel.     Caused a lot of speculators to lose their shirts too. Hmm ... maybe someone could explain this to Barak, using small words and lots of pictures.
tschus pyotr -----------------------------------------
Sound like the perfect way to punish oil companies and speculators.
technomaNge
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wrote:

This is *EXACTLY* what I've been saying for years, most recently a couple of weeks ago. When gas prices spiked, ostensibly due to the goings on in Libya, Obama "suggested" that we could open the Strategic Oil Reserve. It was a mere matter of hours until OPEC announced that they would increase production.
We are, indeed hostages. Opening ANWR to drilling wouldn't make a dent in our imports, nor would opening every possible offshore site. The result would be that OPEC would lower their production and raise their prices and we wouldn't notice a difference at the pump.
What we need to do is develop alternative energy sources AND, more importantly, we need to lower our consumption of energy. A decent public transportation system would go a long way towards that goal.
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We have lots of energy sources now. Coal and Natural Gas are both available at much lower costs than wind and solar. But what we lack is enough mobile energy sources as gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. We can develop wind turbines and solar cells, but they will not do zip for cars, trucks , tractors , and airplanes. A decent public transportation system will work in the North East, but isn't going to do anything in Montana, Alaska, and Texas ( or most states of any size. )
Dan
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On Wed, 18 May 2011 18:02:14 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@krl.org"
<snip>

<snip> ==========Coal liquefaction -- an "off the shelf" solution -- from the 1920s...
http://www.sasol.com/sasol_internet/frontend/navigation.jsp?navid=1&rootid=1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sasol
http://www.fischer-tropsch.org / http://www.slate.com/id/2152036/?nav=ais
If this implemented I strongly suggest that domestic US oil companies be barred from participating to avoid stalling, obfuscation, delay, and sabotage. There appears to be no reason any existing company should make a dime from this investment and when/if privatized all profit should go back to the government to pay down the national debt, or remain as a GSE ala the TVA, again with all profits going to reduce the national debt.
-- Unka George (George McDuffee) .............................. The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. L. P. Hartley (1895-1972), British author. The Go-Between, Prologue (1953).
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rangerssuck wrote:

If the people in power were sane, and weren't bowing down and kowtowing to the NIMBYs, they'd simply reprocess it into new fuel, high-value isotopes for research, and dirt.
"OOO! Can't do that! The _TERRORISTS_ will steal it and make bombs!" Well, unless you just crawled out from under your rock yesterday, you'd have already seen that that ship sailed a couple of decades ago.
Hope This Helps! Rich
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wrote:

Terrorists are unlikely to make bombs with plutonium. They are much more likely to make bombs with U233 or U235. U233 is the fissile material produced in the reactions in thorium reactors, and the "new fuel" that can be made that way in a breeding process. Plutonium is a byproduct of conventional uranium reactors and is the stuff that's caused real panic in Japan. It's toxic as hell.
Many RCM members could make a bomb with U233 -- you can use a gun trigger, like the Hiroshima bomb, which was never tested before we dropped it. The Nagasaki bomb was the one tested (in concept) at Trinity. Which isotopes are you planning to produce from reprocessing for "research"? And how are you planning to make them?

'Don't think so.
--
Ed Huntress



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Silly me. I thought we were going to store it in teacups in Tom's back yard.
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On Tue, 17 May 2011 12:37:58 -0500, CaveLamb

============http://www.dailyfinance.com/2010/07/03/oil-companies-billions-subsidies-tax-breaks /
Looks like we have located the money required to implement at least a few demonstration coal to petroleum conversion plants. This technology will provide a back-up to imported petroleum for petrochemical feed stocks and emergency supplies of liquid fuels such as gasoline, diesel, and JP4. This is off-the-shelf and well proven technology. http://www.sasol.com/sasol_internet/frontend/navigation.jsp?navid=1&rootid=1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fischer%E2%80%93Tropsch_process also see http://www.anl.gov/PCS/acsfuel/preprint%20archive/Files/31_2_NEW%20YORK_04-86_0288.pdf http://www.anl.gov/PCS/acsfuel/preprint%20archive/Files/45_1_SAN%20FRANCISCO_03-00_0124.pdf
IIUC -- Most any organic material, such as agricultural and animal processing wastes (animal fats and feathers), and garbage/trash, can be converted.
Coal liquefaction becomes economically viable when petroleum prices are above about 60$US/BBL, and the US has enormous coal reserves, thus we have the potential to significantly reduce our balance of payments deficit *AND* stimulate domestic high value added activity.
FWIW -- it appears the GOP has done their duty, and managed to kill any move to revoke the oil-company tax subsidies. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/17/oil-subsidies-senate-gop_n_863308.html
-- Unka George (George McDuffee) .............................. The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. L. P. Hartley (1895-1972), British author. The Go-Between, Prologue (1953).
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wrote:

http://www.dailyfinance.com/2010/07/03/oil-companies-billions-subsidies-tax-breaks /
http://www.anl.gov/PCS/acsfuel/preprint%20archive/Files/31_2_NEW%20YORK_04-86_0288.pdf
http://www.anl.gov/PCS/acsfuel/preprint%20archive/Files/45_1_SAN%20FRANCISCO_03-00_0124.pdf
The bigger issue as far as I'm concerned is that while "subsidies" might have their place, they don't make anyting "cheaper" up front...
--and all too often they just shift the cost of an item or service onto other parties instead--usually onto parties who had no want or need for the item or service in the first place.
--



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On Tue, 17 May 2011 22:11:16 -0700, "PrecisionmachinisT"
<snip>

========You touch on one of the most critical aspects of the current tax system. While anyone can see what the pump/point-of-sale price for gasoline is, [most likely] the total price including oil company tax breaks, local and state tax abatements on refineries, costs to clean up the messes made, and subsidies (which the other tax payers must make up for,) not to mention a few hot wars and mideast foreign aid, would curl your hair.
This distortion of up front costs largely negates the assumption of the efficient free market in that no one can tell what many things cost IN TOTAL, so are unable to prioritize/rationalize their purchases. This includes food, housing, automobiles, consumer electronics, etc, to name a few.
FWIW -- it appears the only way to flush out the hidden subsidies and tax breaks is to refuse to increase the national debt limit. -- Unka George (George McDuffee) .............................. The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. L. P. Hartley (1895-1972), British author. The Go-Between, Prologue (1953).
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"F. George McDuffee" wrote:

How do you expect that is going to work?
Do you think that they will suddenly transport the US troops home and discharge them and cancel defense contracts
or
Do you think they will stop issuing Social Security and medicare checks

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wrote:

The national debt limit is another issue entirely
Granted, it is a huge and really scary amount of money......
-But there is no reason to arbitrarily set it to some certain and inelastic amount--rather, it should be PEGGED to some quantifiable economic indicator such as percentage of GDP and perhaps modified by a few other indices like perhaps trade imbalances and current fed interest rates and so forth.
Otherwise, it'snot meaningful and it's even likely to be destructive to long term growth and prosperity when you consider that the global currency supply is constantly expanding...
(IOW, today it's pretty easy to make the payments on a $55,000.00 home that was bought in 1992 using 30 year paper )
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wrote:

The only thing that really matters regarding the national debt is whether buying your paper serves the interests of the people doing the buying. US Treasury paper serves several needs for both domestic and foreign investors, and nothing else does.
Of course, you can reach a point where servicing the debt becomes onerous. But it's not at the moment.
--
Ed Huntress



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wrote:

Okay but my point about setting an arbitrary limit based mostly on paranoia and fear still stands.
--





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wrote:

Sure. What's Japan's national debt now, 200% of GDP? They have their problems, but national debt is not a big one.
--
Ed Huntress



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So if interest rates double, would that be a problem?
Wes
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