Fantasy Energy Team Update: $55 and Hurting

Less than four months ago I wrote a post entitled “My Fantasy Energy Team is Hitting Over $140”. I wrote, as plenty of analysts did, about $200 a barrel oil coming any day now.

I see at Bloomberg this morning that oil is $55 a barrel. $85 dollars down from $140, carry the one….that’s…a 61% decrease in about 135 days or so. Besides proving, once again, that I’d make a lousy commodities trader (and that most commodities trading analysts would make lousy commodities traders), what does it all mean?

I haven’t a clue, but doing a bit of bikeriding yesterday around the kitsch that is Mesa del Sol I saw big, shiny manufacturing centers looking pretty empty amid even emptier sunny Mesa. In particular, I came across this optimistic sign at the Advent Solar plant that read “Parking for Advent Solar Customers Only”. Sure it was Sunday, and almost everything in the whole planned development was empty, but given what my bikeriding friends told me about Advent, those parking space might not be filled for quite a while at $55 a barrel. European frenzy for solar energy or not.

And there’s a construction site here, and a half-finished airport terminal-looking building there. With the wind flapping the surveying flags, largely untouched concrete slabs, and periodic happy-happy signage “Green Means Mesa del Sol”, the overall effect for me was that of some forlorn real estate boondoggle far, far from town.

But then again, I’m the one who was hoping for oil to get to $200 a barrel four months ago. What do I know about economic development? Maybe fairly rich people will start buying airplanes. Maybe even richer people will start going into space instead of going to Vail for the weekend. And maybe the planned development that is Mesa del Sol will one day be more than a set of scattered monoliths amid a sea of sand.

Probably because I know nothing about economic development and am a bit more knowledgable about classic cinema, the only thing going through my mind while tramping around the place yesterday was that old joke Charles Foster Kane uses an an answer to a young reporter’s question after Kane’s trip to Europe in the early 1930s:

Reporter (Bones): How did you find the business conditions in Europe?
Kane: Uh, how did I find the business conditions in Europe, Mr. Bones? With great difficulty.

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