In the Loop

In the Loop: May 28, 2008 Archive

A big bubble of oil?

Posted at 11:29 AM on May 28, 2008 by Jeff Horwich

Members of the Rockefeller family are pushing today at the annual ExxonMobile shareholders' meeting for some major changes in how the company does business.

Like most proxy fights, it's likely to generate a lot of media interest before falling prey to the same-old-same-old instinct of the majority of shareholders. Exxon is dead-set against the family's ideas.

But one of their main arguments is that the oil boom that is handing the company the biggest profits in history is unlikely to hold out, and the company would be wise to invest big-time in other ways of making power. We've been thinking about this as an angle to pursue for this week's show.

Interestingly, an interview came out over the holiday weekend with George Soros, who laid out a multi-point argument for why oil prices are a true bubble. Among them, a messed up "backward" supply curve, and much more speculation in the system than most people have assumed.

If you can tolerate the, um, less-than-caffeinated delivery, give it a look:

(UPDATE: Shareholders indeed rejected the crux of the Rockefeller proposals, to split the CEO and Chairman jobs so the CEO would be overseen by an independent chairman of the board. But the proposal garnered 40 percent support, which is pretty remarkable for proposals of this sort.)

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