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You are certainly applying logic to this issue. I appreciate that. Let me try to reply with some of my thoughts:

>>did the people you spoke with say Ghawar is in fine shape? Do they not have any concerns with it depleting soon? Just curious.

No, they did not make such a reassuring statement. There are always concerns about when it will deplete, if nothing else the Saudis consider this a legacy asset to benefit their children and descendants. The boogie I am trying to wrestle with, is an insinuation that Ghawar is similar to a field in Oman which has been damaged by mis-management. If indeed this is what Simmons is saying, then I allege he has incomplete informantion and should know better. But from this board I cannot identify if this rumor is behing Simmons' pessimism.

>>That said, if you say that he has an agenda (his energy consulting business) then it's just as fair to say that Lee Raymond and the Saudi Royal family have an agenda, too (not spooking the market into developing competing sources of energy).

Do you really think this is a fair comparison? A consultant who has no scare to sell, basically has nothing in comparison. Any owner of a massive supply of oil, on the other hand, has a whole lot of asset even IF alternative energy is developed.

Where we probably disagree is the meaning of alternative energy. It seems you think it would *replace* oil energy, so much it would harm the interests of the oil business. What I think is, oil is going to be in shortage anyway we look at it, and therefore we CRAVE enough alternative energy to fill the gap. Under those circumstances one might not want to squelch non-oil alternatives. Besides, big oil could very well *want* to diversify themselves into the alternative energy as well. They will be looking for businesses good enough to replace whatever they cannot invest profitably in oil.

Scalability is a key trait of any technology. I think we will find problems scaling most alternative energy forms, up to the size of oil today. I still think LNG is more scalable and available than coal or any of the alternatives I know of. It is a more known technology than clean coal, cheaper and less frightening (to most people) than nuclear energy, etc. But it lacks the gee-whiz factor of solar, wind, all the technologies which laymen *imagine* will revolutionize the world.

Bet on evolution, bet against revolution, that's what I say.

Best of luck -- C44

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