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Conventional Wisdom wrong again


Mar 15, 2004
Edison Washington USA
The largest Refinery project in the USA in 30 years is being built in Port Arthur Texas.

And guess what- environmental restrictions didnt make it impossible.
And America's tax breaks to oil companies- around $2 Billion a year right now- didnt help it get done either.

Instead, Aramco (the Saudi's) and Royal Dutch Shell (the dutch, of course) are spending $7 Billion of their own money. And instead of crying about it, or trying to get government handouts, they believe enough in the american economy to put their money where their mouth is.

Too bad american oil companies dont feel the same way.
Bet the president of Exxon has a nice 3rd vacation home, though.

Typically, foreigners will profit by taking risks on the american economy, while american big money buys Rolexes and BMW's. Both imported, of course.
"Too bad american oil companies dont feel the same way."


Profit made by off-shore investors in USA enterprise/plants is taxed at a much lower rate than USA business pays.

That could be a big part of the decision.
It's not a NEW refienery.
It's simply an expansion.

Yeah it will more than double the output however look at the cost.

300KBPD = $7billion that's just an expansion

Try to build "NEW" refinery in the states. It's not allowed.

Thanks to the likes of Gore.

Venizuala built the worlds largest refinery (956KBPD)for $3.8billion 956,000 from the ground up.

600KBPD built in India for $0.9billion.
Yeah labor is cheap there. Environmental regulations are practically non existant. Indian air is American air Al Gore.

Are you jelous of Shell's CEO if he has three houses?
Does that really make a difference?

God bless the oil companies.

Move to the Uk or Germany and lets see how loud you squeal about fuel prices and corporate CEO greed.
God bless...

Ho ho ho. Let's all have a moment of silent meditation in honor of
exxon mobil. Those poor folks who have it so tough. Maybe we could
all pass the hat and put a few dollars into it for them, so they could
try to break even this year.


How much is going to be for fuel and how much for non fuel oil products.

Also you have to wonder why Port Arthur Texas

Just think how prices will go up when the next hurricane takes aim at texas.

$150 a barrel anyone.
I know, its "just" a $7 billion expansion. Never mind that it will be built, from the ground up, to process 275,000 barrels a day of Saudi heavy crude, and will expand to 600,000 a day in a few years.
Conventional wisdom says new refineries cant be built in the USA, so this CANT be a new refinery, can it?

In terms of equipment, technology, process, and employees, its all new. But since it is built next to an existing refinery, and, presumably, will use its dock, offices, and parking lot, its not "new".

I dont hate any oil company execs.
I am just pointing out the truth- that foreign companies are willing to invest in new infrastructure and factories in the USA, while, by and large, domestic ones are offshoring instead.

The Russians are sinking $3 to $5 Billion into new steel mills here. The Indians are building the first new integrated mill in the US in something like 30 years, for over $3 Billion. The Germans are building another new steel mill in Alabama- another $4 Billion or so.
The Chinese are building refrigerator factories in South Carolina, Driveline factories in Michigan, Solar Collector factories in California.
The Japanese are building auto plants all over the USA- as are the Koreans, the Germans, and, it is rumored, soon Fiat will return.

But Conventional Wisdom says we cant build factories, or refineries, here because of Unions, Environmental Laws, high taxes, and government regulation. So our vaunted and all knowing Wall Street Gurus, the ones who have done so well managing our 401 K plans (checked yours lately?) believe Conventional Wisdom, and dont build infrastructure.

Somehow, these silly furriners just arent getting the message.
If I could buy an American car as reliable, peppy, and fuel efficient as my 540i, I would.

Too bad they don't exist.

282hp 19mpg city (with lead foot) and 132K trouble free miles and counting. But I'm the second owner. I refuse to spend the $52K these sold for new on a car.


The leather seats came from Montana (or at least that's what they called them).
I read that story on the refinery expansion. It is not to refine oil into fuel, but to refine oil into asphalt. This won't do a bit of good for the demand side of fuel availability or costs.
Where did you read about the asphalt part?
In the Wall Street Journal-


or The Motiva Press Release-


and the original article, they all say "transportation fuels".
No mention of asphalt anywhere I have seen.
Not saying you might not be right, but I cant find any sources online.

As the easy to get at light sweet crude gets used up, more and more of the oil available to buy is the high sulphur heavy that this refinery is built to refine. If more american refineries arent built to process it, we are gonna be SOL.

I am all in favor of new refineries.
And when the numbers pencil out, all of a sudden, like this one, they appear- 2 years from planning to groundbreaking.
To "expand" a current refinery to process the heavy stuff, it pretty much requires tearing the whole thing down and building a new one.
So "expansion" is kinda like the way they would call it a "remodel" when I lived in LA, when they tore down everything but 10 feet of one wall, then spent $2 Million building a new house, since a remodel building permit were easier to get, and required no Special Use Permits, adherence to new setbacks, or approval by neighborhood committees.
Call it what you like, when you hire 4500 construction workers for 2 years, its a lot bigger than knocking out a wall and putting in a new window.
If I could buy an American car as reliable, peppy, and fuel efficient as my 540i, I would.

Too bad they don't exist.

282hp 19mpg city (with lead foot) and 132K trouble free miles and counting. But I'm the second owner. I refuse to spend the $52K these sold for new on a car.
How about a 1997 or newer Corvette... 350 HP and 28 mpg highway (seriously). There was a guy on the Corvette forum recently who just passed 300,000 miles with his 1998 C5.

Still I admit that's just one guy....but you're just one guy....what really matters are the complied realiabity stats of thousands of cars like Consumer Reports does.

We have a Mercury Sable with 24 valve 3.0 engine that is pretty peppy with 155,000 miles and no troubles other than a small oil leak. But a check of CR would probably reveal that the Corvette, Sable and BMW540i are average or below average in realibility overall.

The worst car line in the world in long term reliability is German, btw. Guess who ? (not BMW)
I vote Audi. 10 years ago I bought an Audi 100 that just came off a 3 year lease with a 2 yr dealer warranty (thank God for that) for the wife. Most unreliable piece of crap I ever owned. Constant minor electrical and fuel system problems. Then the fuel injectors started leaking. Then the master cylinder split open, sprayed fluid all over the exhaust manifolds which ignited and the car burned from the windshield forward. I was happy about the car catching fire since I have a conscience and would have felt guilty about selling it to someone else.

During my sowing wild oats days I owned a Porsche 968.

It looked great. Performed OK, but was a maintenance nightmare. Stuff broke all the time on that car. And expensive as hell to fix.

How much for a headlight on that BMW?

I traded the Porsche for a 528. Same difference, damn headlight was around $150.

Traded all that silliness in for a good ole merican car.
get in it, turn the key and go. 200K miles, no problem.
If there ever is, I won't need to take a loan out to fix it.

Just this one guys experiences....;)
I wonder if this country really needs new refineries right now or if adding more capacity is indeed a good investment. If large companies like GE, GM, Toyota, and the rest of the power industry get their way, the future is in plug-in hybrid cars.

Large thermal power plants run best at maximum load. They don't like to cycle. It takes them 8hrs to start up, so at night when power usage is less then half that of day time use, they need a market for their power. With batteries becoming increasingly better and better, combined with increasing fuel shortage problems, and reliance on foreign imports of oil, I think running our country's cars off coal and nuclear power is a much better choice for the future.

We have been doing very well running hybrids for the last few years now. What the power industry is lobbying for today, is a future where each house has a time of day meter in its garage, and is able to pay spot market price for electricity. You come home from work and plug in your car to the wall and tell it to charge the batteries for as long as the cost of electricity is below a price you are willing to pay. Charge the car up at night and then next morning you can get 100miles of range on your car. After that if you want to go further, now you drive your car over to the gas station and fill up with gasoline for the rest of the trip. And since your car is still a hybrid you already get better mileage as is.

I think it is the way of the future. From what I gather up until now there have been 3 major barriers in the way.
1. Politicians make a lot of money in a gas tax, it is a fair one too as you pay for the road you use. Figuring out how to determine what electricity you will be consuming on the road vs. in the rest of your house and taxing accordingly is hard.
2. Battery technology wasn't always where it needs to be. However this one is improving by the day and now is just about there.
3. Perhaps housewife mentality. While commercial/industrial consumers pay their bills based on time of day usage and peak demand, residential users still pay for an monthly averaged price of electricity. I think a lot of this may have to do with American housewives, traditionally have enjoyed doing laundry during the day when their family is at school and work. What they don't realize is that if all of them say started doing wash around maybe 7-9pm, and then placed the load in the electric dryer overnight how much better off the system would be.

All 3 of these problems have easy solutions. At the simplest level the only added infrastructure needed for plug-in hybrids would be one additional extension cord per house. However likely additionally it would require the installation of computerized electric meters in homes too. None the less the point is, Plug-in hybrids are almost here, GM says its Volt car will be ready by 2010, they are needed, and government and utilities will likely soon find ways to slightly alter their business structure to accommodate the new technology.

This is one measure from an energy stand point that just makes sense, and I don't think there is much the oil industry can do about it.

Can't fit the wife and kid and a weekends worth of food and clothes in the vette. I'm more partial to GM's offerings, but the caprice was as close to a suitable car they made and it's a big boat. The C5's 6spd tranny has a lot to do with that mileage as well. My car has an automatic 5spd.

CR hated the 540's. There's some little electrical gremlins that are easily repaired, and the LED module in the dash has horrible reliability, but BMW NA has a replacement plan where you pay the 1hr R&R time to the dealer and BMW picks up the $900 for the part.

Getting beyond biased input such as CR (those with a beef are several times more likely to voice their issues than those who are happy), you'll find the E39 540i to be one of the highest acclaimed sedans ever made. It handles like a sports car, but it rides like a luxoboat. All that with a coefficient of drag lower than most sports cars. I get 18mpg doing 100.

I refuse to own a fwd car too. What Sedan has the level of creature comforts, and reliability with rwd and is made here? Even the big two (since Chrysler is foreign owned) get most of their parts from china and mexico. If I'm sending money to someone else, I'd rather it be the Krauts. BMW at least has an investment here in SC. I'm aware BMW has a plant in china and it's disappointing to say the least.

The wife has a `06 minivan (bought new) and I'm not very impressed with the fit, finish, or quality of that vehicle (chrysler). The engineering is another story - there is NOTHING strong enough to jack from in the center of the undercarriage. Someone's head was in close proximity to their colon when they approved that print. If you want to put it on jack stands, you have to jack it twice to get it level.

Back on topic: Money spent for new facilities is not good for dividends now. It's an investment for the future, and as you can see with how many US companies have eliminated their conus workforce, they appear to be rather deficient on long term strategy.
If I could buy an American car as reliable, peppy, and fuel efficient as my 540i, I would.

Too bad they don't exist.

282hp 19mpg city (with lead foot) and 132K trouble free miles and counting. But I'm the second owner. I refuse to spend the $52K these sold for new on a car.

try my '07 Mustang :) Granted, it's a bit less HP (200+ V6), but at 25 avg/ gal (stick trans), and $21,500 OTD (that's out-the-door, taxes, tags, etc) sticker, which includes the pony-package, sport suspension, and traction control, how can you go wrong? 17 months old, and the only problem with it has been the passenger-side airbag sensor recall
I vote Audi. 10 years ago I bought an Audi 100 that just came off a 3 year lease with a 2 yr dealer warranty (thank God for that) for the wife. Most unreliable piece of crap I ever owned.
There is a connection between Audi and VW now, but was there then ?