18 March 2015

Kris Wiluan

Kris Wiluan, one of Indonesia's 40 richest people. Picture taken from Forbes.com
Kris Wiluan is a business magnate, and one of the top 40 richest people in Indonesia. He also happens to be a giant in the energy industry. His story may be seen as a series of lucky breaks, combined with his natural charm.

In the 1960s, his parents sent him to Germany to study, but he turned up in England by mistake. His uncles convinced his parents that English was more practical, and so they allowed him to study in England. While studying in university there, he met his British wife.

After graduating he became a programmer for Guest, Keen and Nettlefold, now GKN. Later, in 1976, he was offered to work for United Motor Works. A year later he began his own business. He began his business modestly, catering food and supplies to oil rigs, including videos and other entertainment.

In an interview with the Telegraph, he describes his big break: One day, while transporting equipment for Dupont from Singapore to Batam, they missed the returning ferry. While chatting in the darkness, he was suddenly inspired to promote Batam as an alternative storage location.

He got his first contract from Dupont for storing 40,000 pipes on Batam island. With his charm, and sheer good luck, he managed to pull together the necessary resources without putting down any capital. Later, he moved into machining blank pipes for Mobil and other oil companies.

His business empire today includes PT Citra Tubindo, which manufactures pipes and other oil-related equipment, and KS Energy, a Singapore-listed equipment distribution and drilling company.

In 2007, Forbes listed Kris Wiluan's net worth at USD 185 million. He was No. 35 in the Forbes 2007 list of Indonesia's 40 richest people. A mere 2 years later, he was listed by Forbes as having a net worth of USD 240 million. This time, however, he was No. 40 in the Forbes list.

References:

  1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/businessclub/business-club-video/global-business-insight-video/7849925/Kris-Taenar-Wiluan-interview.html
  2. http://www.forbes.com/lists/2007/80/07indonesia_Kris-Wiluan_KIAQ.html
  3. http://www.forbes.com/lists/2009/80/indonesia-billionaires-09_Kris-Wiluan_KIAQ.html
  4. http://batampos.co.id/26-08-2013/pahit-manis-karir-bisnis-kris-wiluan-1/ (Indonesian)

16 March 2015

The Koch Brothers

America's Richest Oil Tycoons. Source: http://money.cnn.com/infographic/luxury/americas-richest-oil-tycoons/index.html
Today, I was surprised to find out that there are big oil tycoons in the USA. The no.1 and no. 2 spots in the USA are taken by David Koch and Charles Koch, two brothers. Together, the two brothers are worth USD89.7 billion, which is about RM332.28 billion. That's a lot of money, and almost 7 times the net worth of George Kaiser, who is the third richest oil tycoon in America.

Their immense wealth comes from Koch Industries, Inc., originally an oil refinery which was co-founded by their father, Fred Chase Koch, in 1940. It was originally called the Wood River Oil and Refining Company. According to Wikipedia, Koch Industries Inc. is the second-largest privately held firm in America.

Fred Chase Koch, the senior patriarch, had four sons: Frederick, Charles, David, and William (Bill). David and Bill are twins, but Bill was born 19 minutes later.

In 1983, Frederick and Bill both sold their shares in Koch Industries Inc to their brothers Charles and David. However, there followed 15 years of litigation between the siblings. Frederick and Bill would accuse Charles and David of cheating them. Eventually, a settlement was reached in 2001, ending all subsequent litigation.

According to Wikipedia, both Charles and David Koch own 42% each in Koch Industries Inc.

The Wood River Oil and Refining Company was later renamed Rock Island Oil and Refining Company. In 1961, Charles joined Rock Island. In 1966, at age 32, he became chairman of the company, after his father's death. In 1968, Rock Island became Koch Industries Inc, in honour of co-founder Fred Koch.

David joined the family business in 1970, eventually becoming president of Koch Engineering in 1979.

Today, Koch Industries Inc. is a huge conglomerate which is involved in various industries. These include manufacturing, chemicals, energy, minerals, agriculture, and many others.

Fred C. Koch was a chemist by training. With the exception of his eldest son Frederick, who studied an arts degree, all his sons -- Charles, David, and Bill -- studied chemistry. 

Here are some articles that might interest you: 

03 March 2015

Price of Petrol March 2015


The price of RON95 is now RM1.95 and RON97 is now RM2.25. This price is cheaper than prices in October 2014, when the present pricing mechanism was imposed. The nice table you see above is from the Facebook page of Sinchew Daily newspaper. (Thanks, guys! I couldn't have done it better myself....)

It's a frequent complaint of Malaysians whenever the price of petrol goes up. "What! Oil now up to $xxxx (insert figure here) per barrel! Soon our petrol will go up again. Soon everything will go up again...." And it is an accepted fact of life -- petrol prices will go up every so often, causing everything to go up. Coffee, food, clothes, services, etc. Everything goes up with the petrol.

However, due to the current petrol war between Saudi and USA, excess oil production has driven oil prices down. Some articles say that it's to drive the USA out of the oil business. Reason? Saudi has lower breakeven point for each barrel produced (after the initial cost of drilling the oil well), compared to USA producers. Oil wells drilled in the Middle East have a longer production period (about 20 years) compared to "fracking" method used in the USA (1-2 years). Once the USA is out of the oil business, oil production will be back to normal -- controlled numbers, and priced comfortably high.

In the meantime, local producers have no reason to raise their prices, not with the price of petrol at these levels. However, a good number of them still do, due to "the GST Effect". These are the producers and traders who make a big show of it. "Oh, the GST is coming!" they cry. "Everything will go up!" But in fact, on paper, it shouldn't go up at all. After all, many of them are already paying tax, and GST merely replaces these taxes. I sincerely hope that prices won't go up, even after GST is implemented.

In the meantime, it's still a good time to fill your car up and take a slow drive along Peninsular Malaysia's East Coast. Have a nice view of the sea and relax.

11 January 2015

Should petrol pumps hang from the ceiling?

While I was browsing my Google Plus timeline, I came across this.


Apparently in Japan and Korea, petrol pumps hang from the ceiling. This solves the issue of parking your car just right so that the pump is located next to where you pump the petrol i.e. the fuel filler cap or petrol cap.

I once read from a book, car manufacturers make cars with their petrol caps on left and on the right so as to make sure that petrol stations won't have people queueing up for petrol pumps of a certain sort only. For example if all cars had their petrol caps on the left, drivers would want to park on the right of the fuel pump so as to fill up their car fuel tanks. Lefts and rights are all right as a solution when petrol pumps are located at chest level -- you need to pull them over to the petrol cap, and the closer the petrol cap is to the pump, the better.

However, if petrol pumps hang from the ceiling, the issue of which side is the "right side" would not even come up. Here are some pictures of pumps that hang from the ceiling, thanks to Google Images.



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It does look like a good idea, we can consider adopting it to reduce some of the following problems:
  • mess at individual pump stations;
  • accidents caused by people ramming into petrol pumps accidentally;
  • pump cables being pulled too far when the petrol cap is on the wrong side; and
  • inconvenience of reparking when the petrol cap is on the wrong side.
Of course, I am aware that petrol pumps in Malaysia have mechanism for credit card payment, and the pumps in the photos don't seem to have that. Maybe we should study how they solve that problem in Japan.

07 December 2014

A visualization .... World's Biggest Oil Producing Countries Today

I found this visualization of the World's Biggest Oil Producing Countries over at Visualizing.org. Source

I thought that I'd share it on this blog. I realised that the original image was too big and wound up being downgraded after uploading. So I broke it up into several images and uploaded it. Anyway, here it is:

Overall summary of countries

Saudi Arabia and Russia

United States and Iran

China and Canada

Iraq and United Arab Emirates

Mexico and Kuwait

Brazil and Nigeria

Venezuela and Norway

Finally, Algeria.