Gouging At The Pump?

Isn’t it funny how the ruckus about high gasoline prices has disappeared? I no longer hear anything about it on the news, the politicians haven’t taxed Exxon-Mobile’s record profits, and I don’t get idiotic emails asking me to boycott gas stations for one day in a year.

Yesterday I was filling gas and I decided to actually calculate how much tax I pay on each gallon. Regular was $2.99 of which about 7.75% is sales tax, but there were a few other taxes added. All told, $0.92 was taxes, which works out to about 30% taxes on each gallon.

Sounds like the government is already getting the lion’s share of profits and they didn’t want anyone else to get in on the action!

Since I hate paying any form of taxes, I think I’m finally motivated to reduce my driving to cut down on my gas usage!

Investing In Oil

I spent most of Saturday listening to an investment presentation by some oil guys from Texas and Oklahoma. I come in contact with them on a previous deal. At that time I had shown their investment presentation to my CPA (who usually turns down every investment I show him) and he was so impressed, he decided to fly out and meet them. He’s become their accountant and is investing heavily in their current deal.

Incidentally, in the previous deal where I came across the oil guys, they were also investors like me in a gas pipeline deal in Texas. It was a pretty sweet deal and we should’ve gotten cashed out with a 30% profit after a year. Unfortunately our partner, Grant Wilson III, decided to swindle us out of the profits. After spending over a year with this jackass, subsidizing his travel and living expenses he just decided that he deserved all the profits and he’s disappeared. Luckily we got all our principle back.

We talked to a lawyer about our legal options. Apparently it’ll cost $25,000 to get a judgment against this crook and if he’s spent the profits, we won’t be able to collect anything. Spending $25,000 to maybe get around $60,000 doesn’t sound very appealing. Anyway, if you come across anyone called Grant Wilson III in Houston, who’s lived in Southern California and is originally from Boston, you should definitely keep your hand on your wallet at all times! The only positive thing in the whole deal is that I learnt a very important lesson about trust in business, and luckily it didn’t cost me much money.

But back to the original discussion about the oil men. Unlike Grant, who’s background is swindling people, oops, I meant to he was a lobbyist in Washington, these people actually have worked for decades in the oil industry. One of the principals has several patents and they all are extremely knowledgeable in various aspects of off-shore and on-land drilling and exploration.

They’ve basically put together a partnership deal where they find under-valued oil & gas producing properties with at least 10-12 years of production left. Usually its a distressed situation like an estate sale, lawsuit or defect in the title where the production has been stopped.

In the current “fund” (its called a fund but its really a partnership), they have 19 producing wells and will drill 2 more infill wells.

In normal deals that are “securitized” (sold as a security and governed by the SEC), dealer-brokers are involved and usually 30% of your investment goes to overheads like commissions, fees and marketing. Since only 70% of your investment actually gets invested you typically get low returns – in the range of 7-10%.

However, if you get an opportunity to invest directly with in a fund like this, where they aren’t paying any broker commissions, you can get a much better return. Assuming oil stays at $65 and gas stays at $6, my CPA thinks we can get a 24% annual return. If oil goes up, our returns go up too! And since about 40% of the return is considered return of principle, its not taxable. (Although it does lower your basis in the investment).

Unlike my other investments which have taken quite a while to start producing, this is supposed to start generating income with 60 days. Of course, I’m not holding my breath. But the fact that my CPA is investing alongside me and I felt I could definitely trust them gives me a lot of confidence.

I let you know how it goes.

Exxon Is The Government’s New Whipping Boy!

I’ve been trying to find out whether we’re going to see an increase in interest rates over the next few years. It’ll depend on whether we have inflation and go into a recession or not. While reading on this topic, I’ve read a lot of interesting stuff.
Here’s something interesting from http://www.financialsense.com/stormwatch/2005/1028.html

Is Fair Share Fair?
On the day this was written ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and Microsoft all reported third quarter profits. Exxon Mobil reported sales of $100 billion and profits of $9.9 billion. ConocoPhillips reported sales of $49.7 billion and profits of $3.8 billion. Microsoft reported that sales rose to $9.7 billion and profits rose to $3.14 billion. ExxonMobil earned a 9.9% return on sales; ConocoPhillips earned a net return on sales of 7.65%. Microsoft’s profits reflect a return of 32.2% on sales.
Company Sales (B) Profits (B) Return on Sales
ExxonMobil $100 $9.00 9.90%
ConocoPhillips $49.7 $3.80 7.65%
Microsoft $9.7 $3.14 32.2%The rise in ExxonMobil’s and ConocoPhillips’ profits promptly called for a windfall profits tax to be imposed on the oil companies. Microsoft’s profits of 32.2% on sales called for no similar action nor were there calls for windfall profits taxes on homebuilders, banks, and other technology companies who all reported higher profits on sales. The oil companies have become the government’s new whipping boy for government-created inflation. The object of course is distraction and shifting the blame.

Oil Hits $78 Per Barrel!


I’m not actually jumping with joy, but I’m still quite pleased. Every dollar that oil goes up, my returns from the oil well I’ve invested in go up along with it.

My calculations on the returns was based on my crude oil selling $55 dollars per barrel. With oil trading at $78 I can expect to sell my lite sweet crude for roughly $68/barrel. Thats a 23% increase in profits with no change in expenses or production!

Sure my gas expenditure goes up, and eventually it will push up the price of almost everything else, but so long as I keep my profits higher than the amount of increase, I’m ahead.

Its always good to hedge one bets and diversify a little bit.

Syria to promote Petro Euros

I just read online that Syria just announced that it would start charging for its oil in euros instead of the tradition dollar. In researching this topic i found a very interesting article. Don’t know if its conspiracy theory or not, but its interesting reading nonetheless.

The Proposed Iranian Oil Bourse
here’s an excerpt.

The Proposed Iranian Oil Bourse
by Krassimir Petrov

I. Economics of Empires

A nation-state taxes its own citizens, while an empire taxes other nation-states. The history of empires, from Greek and Roman, to Ottoman and British, teaches that the economic foundation of every single empire is the taxation of other nations. The imperial ability to tax has always rested on a better and stronger economy, and as a consequence, a better and stronger military. One part of the subject taxes went to improve the living standards of the empire; the other part went to strengthen the military dominance necessary to enforce the collection of those taxes.

Historically, taxing the subject state has been in various forms—usually gold and silver, where those were considered money, but also slaves, soldiers, crops, cattle, or other agricultural and natural resources, whatever economic goods the empire demanded and the subject-state could deliver. Historically, imperial taxation has always been direct: the subject state handed over the economic goods directly to the empire.

For the first time in history, in the twentieth century, America was able to tax the world indirectly, through inflation. It did not enforce the direct payment of taxes like all of its predecessor empires did, but distributed instead its own fiat currency, the U.S. Dollar, to other nations in exchange for goods with the intended consequence of inflating and devaluing those dollars and paying back later each dollar with less economic goods—the difference capturing the U.S. imperial tax. Here is how this happened.

Early in the 20th century, the U.S. economy began to dominate the world economy. The U.S. dollar was tied to gold, so that the value of the dollar neither increased, nor decreased, but remained the same amount of gold. The Great Depression, with its preceding inflation from 1921 to 1929 and its subsequent ballooning government deficits, had substantially increased the amount of currency in circulation, and thus rendered the backing of U.S. dollars by gold impossible. This led Roosevelt to decouple the dollar from gold in 1932. Up to this point, the U.S. may have well dominated the world economy, but from an economic point of view, it was not an empire. The fixed value of the dollar did not allow the Americans to extract economic benefits from other countries by supplying them with dollars convertible to gold.