Seeking Alpha

Gregor Macdonald

 
View as an RSS Feed
View Gregor Macdonald's Comments BY TICKER:
Latest  |  Highest rated
  • 2010 Oil Story: Drawing Down the Inventories [View article]
    Thanks for all the comments. I've brought in two colleagues to go over all the data from BP. We've found enough to merit a new post soon. Bottom line is that BP is doing some very odd things, switching between Barrels and Mtoe (million tonnes oil equivalent). The gap is not as neat and tidy as some in this thread assume. The bottom line is that in 2010, the gap was real. Though, perhaps not as large as first reported. And certainly not merely because of categories like biofuels. Best, G
    Jun 15 09:40 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is China's Massive Consumption Ushering in a New Age of Coal? [View article]
    Thanks. The subject of my presentation to ASPO in Washington DC last year, was just this very issue. The transition back to coal. You might want to peruse or search gregor.us for my ongoing work in this area. I do have a forecast of the transition, but alas it's not in 2011. Important subject for sure.

    Best,

    G
    Jun 15 01:38 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • 2010 Oil Story: Drawing Down the Inventories [View article]
    Yes, I could have been more clear that the two figures cannot match. IEA is reporting on OECD. BP is reporting on total global. My intent was to show direction, using the best freely available graphic I could find. More here: gregor.us/fossil-fuels...
    Jun 10 05:03 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • New York City Home Prices Are Headed for Collapse [View article]
    One of the most common analytical errors I see in my own work, which concentrates on the global oil market, is that people generally do not understand how the dynamics of very large systems work. All your points about NYC real estate are valid--but--what you don't seem to understand is that the system is much larger than all that. Given the massive, broad, structural condition of this market, your points are simply not enough to move it opposite to the facts which Keith outlines in his piece.

    Look at it this way: look how well the NYC RE market is still holding together despite the structural forces placing pressure down upon it. What that should tell you is that it's hard to turn these systems in a hard way, in either direction. The problem is that the array of structural pressures on this market are all pointing down. Even if your points started to emerge, there would be several years of flat and chop in this market. At the very least, certainly you can see no upturn is coming.

    And so you have to ask yourself: is the risk greater that NYC RE turns up, or turns down again? Answer seems pretty obvious from a probabilistic viewpoint.

    G
    Jun 6 10:33 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • New York City Home Prices Are Headed for Collapse [View article]
    Love the data, Keith. And love the very well organized article. I've been watching the US housing market for a decade. My specialty area is energy, however, and the two are of course inextricably linked. I wrote as much (again) just recently in "Housing in North America: Peak Oil’s Primary Victim."
    gregor.us/economics/ho.../

    In short, the excess capital which allowed for the salaries and gains over the past 50 years, which supported US housing prices, is going away. Watch how each new leg down will fool mainstream observers into thinking that lower prices equals higher affordability. This is the mistake Carl Case (of Case-Shiller) made last summer in his call for a housing bottom. There will be housing bottom calls for years, and years to come.

    Best,

    G
    Jun 5 10:54 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why We're Nowhere Near a Bottom in Housing [View article]
    Thanks for all the comments. I think I am obligated to acknowledge, additionally, that the relentless downward trajectory of housing prices is incredibly painful for the country and for many people. As such, essays like mine will often draw a vehement, critical response. However, as a wise man once told me, that which you know may hurt you but that which you don't know may ruin you. I think that it's best we face up, therefore, to the fact that there will be no recovery in US housing to the previous price level. Once we get through it, however, towards the end of this decade, then housing will once again regain its utility value as a place to shelter, run a small business, store capital, and grow a garden. If you ponder this, for a while, it's not a sad prospect but in fact its a happy one.

    There are already cities, like Portland OR, Totnes, UK, various places in France, and Canada, and elsewhere in the US where buying a house in the next 24 months will give the owner enough utility value to offset any further declines. Temperate climes and/or fertile soils and also an aware local populace will be very good things to optimize for. That's what I intend to do.

    Best,

    G
    May 18 07:44 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • When Recovery Is Just a Word [View article]
    Good comments. Thankyou. FWIW: many of us who blog and get republished on S.A. do not see these comment streams as we are tending to things at the original site. Wish I could reply more over here, but there is only just so much time. In general it's best to find me at gregor.us

    Meanwhile, for another excellent post on this subject, see Dave Cohen's piece from last week: www.declineoftheempire...

    Best,

    G
    Feb 12 12:47 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Global Hydro and Nuclear Power in Perspective [View article]
    A large object growing at 7% a year will not be caught by a tiny object growing at triple those rates. Not for a long time, at least. Even if don't dispute your numbers--your numbers make my case.

    I assume you are aware of growth rates for coal consumption in the developing world? I'm merely telling it how it is--not addressing how I wish it would be. I very much wish to see the same displacement of coal by other sources that you wish to see. But 2020 is a long way away.

    G
    Oct 17 04:47 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Global Hydro and Nuclear Power in Perspective [View article]
    Poor people use coal. The world is getting poorer. Oil has peaked. Thus, the future is obvious: a return to coal as the world's primary energy source, with tiny, marginal additions from hydro, solar, wind, and nuclear around the edges.

    I know. It's grim.
    Oct 17 12:54 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Global Hydro and Nuclear Power in Perspective [View article]
    French use of nuclear cannot be scaled up or used as an example for what the whole world can do. In other words, France is now a nuclear outlier, and will remain so.
    Oct 17 12:52 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Global Hydro and Nuclear Power in Perspective [View article]
    The data presented here is for total consumption, globally. There is no breakdown by mode or sector.
    Oct 17 12:51 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Global Hydro and Nuclear Power in Perspective [View article]
    I'm not aware of any previously expressed enthusiasm for NG. My position is neutral: I am skeptical of claims that Shale NG is a crappy resource that offers little prospect for new supply. And, I am skeptical that we can transfer large demand loads from, say, oil based transport to NG. In other words, I don't accept the high or the low case for shale NG. I simply agree that it's there, it's available, and it's part of how the US is about to have the highest NG production in 2010 since 1974. Not quite, but very close, to an all time high.

    HTH.

    G
    Oct 17 12:44 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Energy Transition: The Intractability of the Built Environment [View article]
    Instruction Manual for How to Be Very, Very Wrong When Projecting Adoption of EV's:

    1. Project fleet turnover timelines using the period prior to peak oil.
    2. Project EV adoption rates at the same turnover rates of ICE vehicles (again, using the period before peak oil).

    Hope this helps!

    Gregor
    May 24 09:43 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • As the Oil Age Ends, A Return of the Canal and Rail Age? [View article]
    Is it your view that we make discretionary energy-use choices? My view is that history is quite clear on this matter. We do not make discretionary energy use choices. We choose from what's available, and most importantly we choose the source with the highest energy density. You think we would exercise discretion to move away from super high energy-density oil, were it not becoming more expensive in real terms (because of peak oil?). There is simply no precedent for discretionary rejection of a cheap energy source. But go on. Do explain.

    Gregor
    Mar 24 03:06 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • As the Oil Age Ends, A Return of the Canal and Rail Age? [View article]
    "To suggest we are going to go back to a coal age."

    Could you please explain why that is a ludicrous assertion?

    I define a return to a coal age as a return to a time when coal is the number one supplier of energy to the world. Could you address my assertion, on that level?

    Question: I assume you are aware of several hundred years of energy use data, including the last 60 years, and the last 20 years. So you might reference this in your response. Thankyou.

    Gregor
    Mar 24 03:00 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
COMMENTS STATS
41 Comments
109 Likes