Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Getting on the oil ladder

I’ve been trying, with varying levels of effort and unvarying levels of success, to buy a flat since last autumn. Prices, of course, are falling, so a lot of sellers are backing off, which makes things harder. And there’s also the risk that even if I buy at what seems a good price now, the drop will continue for another year or more.

Oil prices, however, have been hitting record highs, and are expected to keep rising. So there’s clearly an opportunity here.

Rather than buying a flat that’s only going to depreciate, what I could do is buy a load of oil – a much better investment, which I can then sell off at a fat profit in a year or so and trade up. I can use my deposit money, and quite frankly I think that once I’ve explained my foolproof plan to the bank they’ll give me credit to buy more on much better terms than you can get for a mortgage these days.

I mean, I’m kicking myself that I didn’t get in on the oil price boom by buying even something small back in 2002, but I think there’s still a lot of potential in this rising market. China and India are still booming, which fuels demand, supply isn’t exactly shooting up, and at the higher end of the market there’s all that aviation fuel used up by diplomats flying to conferences on climate change – as climate change becomes more serious, this market is only going to expand. It’s what we economists call a bubble virtuous circle of perpetual growth and ever-higher returns.

If I make a few smart buys of oil in undesirable areas (Iraq, say) and carry out a few basic improvements to it (refinement, relocation, maybe some decking), I’ll quickly be able to trade my way up to one of the smaller yet well-approtioned Gulf states’ oilfields, or at least a good chunk of the Norwegian North Sea reserves (transport connections perhaps limited but the views are tremendous and there are no noisy neighbours).

At current prices, for the amount I’d have been spending on a flat, I reckon I could get over 3,000 barrels of brent crude. Now quite sure how to go about getting hold of these, as I’m a first-time buyer, but I’ll just have to register with a few oil agents and see what they’ve got. Oil agents are much like estate agents, only less oily.

There is a potential snag with the scheme, though: I’m going to need somewhere to put the stuff. Maybe I should buy a flat…


Paul E. said...

I'm told that shares are nearly always a better bet than property, and that we are all a bit irrational to stick all of our assets in bricks-and-mortar.

However, your grand plan has a problem. Noone will give you a mortgate on barrels of oil, I don't think...

Anonymous said...

You could always try buying the mineral rights of the flat below you, especially if some potential WAG lives there. (Diamonds, not oil..)

(I'm not even sure if you have mineral rights in the UK?)

Anyway, congrats on even being in the position to buy a flat. Even with all of the trouble you've had to put up with and not securing one yet, it's still a great position to be in and takes time to get there so...congrats! :)