‘Beyond Petroleum’ Now ‘Big Promises’ at BP

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 20, 2020 7 Comments

“Many inside the company, including Tony Hayward, had long thought that [John] Browne was distracted by his pet issues of climate change and environmentalism, and by his flirtations with the public spotlight. They thought he had been obsessed with branding the company and lowering its carbon footprint at the expense of BP’s real business, producing and selling oil.” – Abrahm Lustgarden, Run to Failure: BP and the Making of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster (2012), p. 203.

“The world’s carbon budget is finite and running out fast. We need a rapid transition to net zero.” – Bernard Looney. CEO, BP, quoted in Financial Times, February 12, 2020

British Petroleum Company, then BP Amoco, then BP, has had a troubled history since it went political in the 1990. That history deserves revisiting given its latest rebranding effort.…

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A Legacy of T. Boone Pickens: Political Capitalist

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- September 24, 2019 1 Comment

“Mr. Pickens was an early exponent of the peak oil theory, which held that the world would soon run out of oil to pump. The rise of fracking, which made hard-to-reach oil accessible, upended the theory.” (Washington Post, below)

“’It’s been valuable to have Boone as part of the team,’ said Carl Pope, who was executive director of the Sierra Club at the time, in response to the oilman’s backing of alternative energy sources. Former Vice President Al Gore also backed Mr. Pickens’s alternative energy campaign.” (New York Times, below)

Business leaders can help or hurt the capitalist system with their actions and rhetoric. Swashbuckling T. Boone Pickens (1928–2019) gained a reputation as a disrupter, shaking up a stodgy oil major (Gulf Oil, now part of Chevron), among others.…

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James E. Rogers (1947-2018): Political Capitalist

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- July 18, 2019 5 Comments

At 41, [James Rogers] was named CEO of PSI Energy Inc., a small, financially troubled Indiana utility. Breaking ranks with others in the electric-power industry, he supported legislation putting caps on sulfur-dioxide emissions. “Some of my guys thought I was drinking the environmental Kool-Aid,” he said later. “But I said, ‘Let’s shape this, let’s make some money.’”

– James Hagerty, “Jim Rogers, Head of a Coal-Burning Utility, Crusaded Against Global Warming.” Wall Street Journal, December 20, 2018.

“I made money on sulfur [dioxide], and I’ll make money on carbon [dioxide].”

– James Rogers. Quoted in Eric Pooley, “The Smooth-Talking King of Coal–and Climate Change.” Bloomberg Businessweek, June 3, 2010.

James Eugene “Jim” Rogers Jr. (1947–2018) was a notable political capitalist (rent seeker) of the late 20th/early 21st century electricity market.…

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Corporate Cover for the Environmental Left in the 1990s (“Enron Ascending”)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- September 6, 2018 5 Comments

“Under [Ken] Lay’s direction, Enron would restart the solar industry [in 1995], rescue the US wind industry [in 1997], and help legitimize the climate issue.”

“Enron saw green in green energy. Wind and solar as primary energies had new public policy rationales and powerful political constituencies. Specifically, global warming from fossil-fuel usage (via the enhanced greenhouse effect) was the new neo-Malthusian scare, and post–Gulf War concerns over energy security put petroleum on the defensive. Even more than this, renewables had public cachet for an energy company, particularly one that prized publicity and promoted a momentum stock.”

– Bradley, Enron Ascending: The Forgotten Years, pp. 530, 528, respectively.

Rent-seeking … strategic uses of government intervention…. corporativism. Many terms have described business lobbying within political capitalism where the political means replaces the economic means to financial success The result is bad profit, defined by classical-liberal entrepreneur Charles Koch as corporate income not created but politically obtained and thereby lost to the creators in the economic system.

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Contra-Capitalism as a Business Syndrome

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 27, 2018 5 Comments Continue Reading

T. Boone Pickens: Contra-Capitalist (a ‘man of system’ sought more fame and fortune)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- January 31, 2018 7 Comments Continue Reading

ExxonMobil’s Tillerson on Wind and Solar Subsidies (an argument to remember)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- September 21, 2017 6 Comments Continue Reading

Exxon Mobil and the Carbon Tax: ‘Upon Further Review’

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- January 10, 2017 2 Comments Continue Reading

NRG Energy’s David Crane: Energy Moralism Miscontrued

By -- March 2, 2015 1 Comment Continue Reading

Carbon Taxation: Just Say No (NAM-led letter represents a broad business front)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- May 24, 2013 2 Comments Continue Reading