Has Sanford C. Bernstein discovered a way of squaring this circle?
In a groundbreaking report released -- surely coincidentally -- on April 1, Bernstein's analysts dissect opportunities in what is almost certainly the oil-and-gas sector's ultimate frontier, Mars. The rationale is simple enough: if peak oil looms on this planet just find another planet.
There are, as you might expect, some wrinkles that would need ironing out before turning the red planet into East Texas. Not least of these is the fact that today's oil is the result of dead dinosaurs and other organic matter being laid down and put under pressure for billions of years. To date, despite the fodder it would provide for Hollywood, there is scant evidence tyrannosaurs roamed the Martian plains at any point.
Even if the oil was there, Bernstein estimates it would cost more than $1,000 a barrel to ship it home, about 10 times today's oil price. And try cleaning up a spill in zero gravity.