Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Hummerski...

The Russians, who were famous in my time at least for mammoth, and staggeringly inefficient architecture, machinery, and politics are interested in buying The Hummer.
Oleg Deripaska, Russia's richest man, has been in talks with General Motors about purchasing the Hummer brand, the US military's Humvee inspired gas-guzzler.

The Russian oligarch was in discussions with GM, according to Reuters, though any sort of final deal is a long way off. GM is looking to avert a complete financial catastrophe with Hummer sales off 40% in June. A spate of brand selling could be on the cards if the company is to try and make a turnaround.

The drop in Hummer sales has largely been attributed to the increase in gasoline prices as American drivers exchange their beloved SUV's for Toyota Hybrids en masse. [More]
Interestingly, while the connection to cheap gas seems obvious, Russian oil may have peaked.
Most of the oil produced after the country's 1998 financial collapse has come from drilling and re-drilling old Soviet oil fields with more advanced equipment - squeezing more black gold out of the same ground - and efforts to develop new fields have been slow or non-existent.

That strategy is potentially disastrous, said Valery Kryukov, who researches oil companies in western Siberia for a government-funded think tank.

"If the situation which exists now stays the same, oil production will start to decline seriously in two years," Kryukov said in a phone interview from his offices in the city of Novosibirsk.

The implications extend far beyond Russia's borders. Last year, Russia was the world's second-largest oil producer. If its output begins to decline or is hampered by inept or corrupt business practices, the price of oil could begin climbing again. [More]

Lemme see - what are the odds of corruption or ineptness in today's Russia?

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