oct 10th, 2006
i think reliance, although famous for its prescience, has got it wrong here. this is the wrong kind of business: using india's land and india's skills to make polluting products for the consumption of the white guys. this is the china model that san likes, which i think is totally wrong.
furthermore, i see a time when crude-oil refining will become a dinosaur industry, as the world moves to renewable, non-polluting energy. i may be an optimist, but i think by 2020, we'll be off petroleum for energy in a big way. anybody who disagrees with me should read that classic paper "marketing myopia" by ted levitt in the harvard business review in 1966.
we may still need petroleum as feedstock for polymers, but that too will change, as biotechnology and material science finds substitutes.
the age of petroleum will end by 2050. our good friends the arabs will go back to sand and camels. that is, assuming our good friends the chinese dont manage to fry everything before then through reckless proliferation.