Peter Maass's blog

September 09, 2011  |  permalink

Exxon’s Russian Roulette

How can you turn $3.2 billion into $500 billion in a day? That’s the question I ask in a post on the New York Review of Book’s blog. The answer, if you are Vladimir Putin, the prime minister of Russia, and Rex Tillerson, the chief executive of Exxon, is that you announce a deal that allows Exxon to explore for oil in Russia’s Arctic waters. According to Putin, who last week said, “It’s scary to utter such huge figures,” the deal could reach $500 billion. According to Exxon’s news release, all that’s been agreed so far is an investment of $3.2 billion. The only certainty is that the energy industry’s numbers game sometimes resembles the magical calculations the financial industry relied on before the 2008 crash. For more, click here.

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