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Steve Forbes Sees $35 Oil

Written by Luke Burgess
Posted September 1, 2005

You're simply not going to believe this. Publishing magnate Steve Forbes says that he expects oil prices to dip as low as $35 within a year.

Has the publishing guru gone mad? Has Mr. Forbes taken some horrible hallucinogenic drug, akin to adrenochrome from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas?

Forbes, editor-in-chief of the influential Forbes business magazine, blamed the current price spike on speculation and said that inflation and increased demand from China and India only accounted for a small part of the price hike from $25-$30 a barrel three years ago.

Forbes predicted that an oil price burst was coming with an impact that could make the dotcom bust of 2000 "look like a picnic".

"I'll make a bold prediction," Mr. Forbes said while speaking in Australia, "in 12 months, you're going to see oil down to $35-40 a barrel."

"While there is a lot of talk in my country, the US, about the housing bubble, I think the real bubble, to be blunt, is in the price of oil."

"I don't think it's going to go to $100 but if it does the crash is going to be even more spectacular," he said, "It will make the hi-tech bubble look like a picnic -- this thing is not going to last."

It's obvious to me that Mr. Forbes isn't aware of the global oil supply situation and hasn't done much, if any, research in this area.

I'm sorry Mr. Forbes but I have to strongly disagree with you on this one.

I've been wrong before. But I'm not wrong about this. We'll never see oil at $35 ever again. And, Mr. Forbes, if I'm wrong, I'll eat my hat.

Security Blimps

Could blimps be the next big thing in homeland security?

Companies like Airship Management Services, whose blimps are leased to the likes of Fuji Film, are hoping so.

And I know what you might be thinking...

Maybe something like this?

Airship advocates claim that consumers will need to be convinced airships are safe before they'll ever be used for homeland security purposes. But it seems that it's only a problem of perception. The perception is that airships are unsafe. According to industry leaders, that's simply not true.

Industry leaders say that another Hindenburg accident is unlikely because modern dirigibles filled with helium, not hydrogen. They wont blow up.

I emailed Airship Management Services and asked what would happen if someone shoot at a blimp. Would it burst?

The company told me that because an airship is filled with such a huge volume of gas (about 250,000 cubic feet) and under very low pressure, gas will only leak out at a very slow rate and is not subject to bursting.

In 1994 The British Ministry of Defense fired many hundreds of bullets into an airship during tests. It still took many hours to deflate and land.

Zeppelins operated by Airship Management Services have already been used as air surveillance and security platforms by the New York Police Department, the U.S. Secret Service and the Athens police during last year's summer Olympic Games.

Blimps can be deployed more cost effectively and efficiently than some methods currently being used.

Dirigible supporters say they are cheaper than satellites and more feasible as long term surveillance platforms.

While a blimp might seem to have a hefty price tag at around $5 million, satellites can cost $150 million or more.

An airship is also about 24 times less expensive than operating a helicopter, the current choice of aerial surveillance for state and local law enforcement. Helicopters can also only stay on station for a short period of time. An airship can stay on station for 24 hours and not lose sight of something.

Airships are also very quiet and have a benign presence. People see them but they don't really intrude. They're essentially hidden in plain sight.


Super Blimps

While ordinary airships operate about 1,500 feet above the ground and can cruise at about 5,000 feet maximum, researchers at Purdue University are looking at creating an airship intended to fly about 65,000 feet, well above commercial airliner traffic.

These super blimps would have better surveillance capabilities than satellites because of their proximity to the ground and because they would be unmanned they could remain in operation for up to a year

The super blimps are still in the design stage. Researchers are still working out the kinks. The aircraft's fuel and durability of the airship's "skin" are still engineering hurdles.

Although no design for the blimps has been finalized, the researchers say it may be up to 900 feet long, that's about four times the length of the Goodyear blimp.

- Luke Burgess
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