BP to “put lights out” on North Sea
Posted on Wednesday, February 6th, 2008
BP chief executive Tony Hayward stressed the company’s commitment to the North Sea during its results press conference yesterday, saying it would continue to produce there “until we put the lights out”.
Asked by lastoilshock.com when that would be, Mr Hayward said production would continue for at least 15-20 years, but that this would depend on the tax regime. The province faces declining production and rising costs, he said, so “the fiscal structure needs to continue to develop to ensure that all of the marginal barrels are developed”.
Asked whether he agreed with Shell chief executive Jeroen van der Veer’s judgment that “easy oil” would peak by 2015, Mr Hayward said “The question I always have in my mind is what’s conventional and what’s non-conventional. My personal view is that peak oil will occur more likely driven by demand than supply, and I don’t expect that to occur in 2015”.
Mr Hayward’s comment about an event that he does not “expect to occur in 2015” calls to mind the Paradox of the Unexpected Hanging that Martin Gardner discussed some years back.
The story concerns a prisoner sentenced to be hanged at noon of a day the following week. But the judge sets a condition that the prisoner would not know which day until he is informed on the morning of the actual day of the execution.
The prisoner reasons that he cannot be executed on the last day of the seven because on the afternoon of the sixth day he would then already know the execution day before the morning of the execution, as was required by the judge.
Using logic to work backward to the first day, the prisoner reasons the sentence can never be carried out as ordered, and he in fact will not be executed at all. But unexpectedly, the hangman arrives on the morning of the 4th day, and the sentence was carried out as specified.
Gardner quotes Michael Scriven who explained the fallacy of the paradox over 50 years ago in the journal “Mind”.
“I think this flavour of logic refuted by the world makes the paradox rather fascinating. The logician goes pathetically through the motions that have always worked the spell before, but somehow the monster, Reality, has missed the point and advances still.”