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Crude Observations

Jul
03

Halfway There!

Well folks, it’s official. We are halfway through 2020 and I have to say that this past six months has been the longest decade ever. But we’ll make it, I swear.   And with that halfway point reached, it is now time, yet again, to do a review of my 2020 Fearless Forecast, which I have now officially renamed the “Living on a Prayer” since any and all sanity and substance has been wrung out of the peerless prognostications due to COVID, price wars, economic shutdowns and all the attendant chaos that has been the […]


Jun
26

Canada… Eh!

I know it seems early and it is a bit, but this coming Wednesday July 1 and we all know what that means.   That’s right, it’s time for my lazy annual celebration of all things canucklehead and there’s lots to celebrate each year at this time, like the NHL playoffs being just around the corner.   Ironically. I made that joke last year. This year it’s true. Hope springs eternal, the Leafs and the Habs still have a chance to win that elusive trophy we Canadians think we should own. How elusive? It was […]


Jun
19

Freedom 55

Wow. Where does the time go folks? It seems like only yesterday that I was a wee buck, wet behind the ears, looking to make my way in a land of uncertainty and boundless opportunity. And now? I’m a beaten down wreck, a long term sufferer of the vagaries of the worst industry on the planet – the energy industry.   OK, not really. The energy industry has been just fine to me and my family. Which of course is why we rebranded recently. Actually, that’s not true either. We rebranded so we would stop […]


Jun
12

What’s happening deal wise anyway?

For the past several weeks, we have spent time on this blog discussing the state of the energy industry, making fun of various levels of government and postulating on what a post-pandemic world might look like. And don’t get me wrong, it has been a lot of fun because when I do the serious stuff it’s mostly dry and not as engaging as I think it should be.   But sadly, this blog can’t always be fun – sometimes it actually needs to be about “work” and “markets” since, as my partner reminds me, it’s […]


Jun
05

Wanna Bet?

One of the benefits of doing this weekly coffee call that I have been pursuing these last couple of months is not only do I get to have far-ranging conversations about a host of topics with an engaging group of people, but I also get to use it as occasional inspiration for blog topics. And let’s face it, the last few weeks have been a bit of a challenge for me.   At any rate, this week I am taking inspiration from something we discussed a few weeks ago. The subject was the upcoming Conservative […]


May
29

Cheers to Normal(ish) Haircuts

So here we are entering Week 12 of lockdown, pandemic stay at home day 77, which now makes this self-isolation 2 days longer than that stint in jail in Tijuana a decade or so ago… Oh wait, that’s wrong. It wasn’t a decade ago and it wasn’t even me. But sometimes it feels like it, doesn’t it? Jail? Lockdown? Weird holiday’ish time?   Okay, for the record (and any subsequent internet searches) – I have never been in jail. Not here, not Mexico, not anywhere. And certainly not any period of time approaching 77 days, […]


May
22

On Fire

It’s funny how things go in this new COVID world, one week you are bored out of your tree, the next week there is so much going on that it’s hard to focus on any one thing. This week of course has been no different, particularly in the energy sector as a number of announcements and developments that started in early May started to gain momentum and finally burst into prominence over the last seven to ten days.   Coupled with this are the recent movements in the price of oil, which we can safely […]


May
15

So Bored

Welcome everyone to an abbreviated blog this week. Why is it abbreviated you might ask? Well because it’s the May Long Weekend here in Canadaland which can mean only one thing – that’s right, we are packing the family up for an extra long trip camping! Actually no, we aren’t doing that at all. We aren’t campers. No, instead we are going to spending the weekend at dance competitions since as everyone knows, my kids are dancers and this is dance competition frenzy time. Wait, no. All those competitions have been “postponed” this year.   […]


May
08

Fish Tales

So there I was thinking that this week was going to be another of those weeks where I have to search long and hard for inspiration to break this seemingly endless bout of coronavirus writer’s block that seems to come and go depending on the weather and time of day.   Sometimes I am never sure what will happen when I sit in front of the keyboard or what strange brew will spill out of my brain. Some weeks I have perfect clarity that I know what needs to be discussed.   This week is […]


May
01

May Day or May Day?

Ah, the first of May. First official day of Spring here in Calgary BTW, at least until it snows in a week or two (I kid you not). It is also officially day 2379 of our Covid19 induced self-isolation, which is rapidly just becoming the new normal – a kind of extended summer vacation where no one is around, mystery people ride bikes up and down our streets and my recent addiction to ripple potato chips conspires to rob me of any weight loss benefit of all this self-isolating eating.   Also worthy of note […]


Apr
24

Draft Day

Howdy all, welcome to the last blog of April 2020, a month that, to paraphrase one of my favourite presidents (if only because of that cupcake FDR and the New Deal economics class in university), will live in infamy.   From Chaucer (he dropped the iambic pentameter hammer on April showers) to folksy sayings (April showers bring May flowers (punch)) to the usual Calgary litany of freak snowstorms and patio weather (often in the same day!), April is quite often a bear of a month and this year it has been compounded by pandemic lockdowns […]


Apr
22

Energy Support Update

So we had our inaugural Crude Observations Coffee on Tuesday and I think it went pretty well. There was a spirited and friendly conversation back and forth about the new federal support program for the energy industry among other topical matters.   One of the more satisfying aspects of it was just being able to connect with people from a broad variety of backgrounds and industries to actually have a conversation about what they were doing, what they were feeling and how they were managing and coping with this pandemic mess.   I encourage anyone […]


Apr
17

What’s In a Name?

One of the impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on business is that many initiatives that companies had under way get shelved or put aside in the immediacy of the moment. What is a long term investment in the future of a business may seem a luxury when faced with the sudden need to establish work from home protocols, ensure your virtual presence is seamless and also help clients and prospects understand and navigate a volatile and frightening environment.   That said, time passes and soon enough people adapt and remember that the long […]


Apr
15

Here to Help

As the implications for the broader economy and Canadian businesses from the pandemic become clearer, we wanted to assure you that Stormont remains open and is available to help companies as they seek to adapt to an unprecedented environment.   If you or any business colleague are looking for advice on how to weather this storm, how and where to raise capital, need help restructuring a balance sheet or assistance with preparing financial projections, please do not hesitate to reach out to us directly.   Phone and video calls are easy to make and we […]


Apr
10

One Shining Moment?

So here we sit, housebound mostly, wondering whatever can we do on a Good Friday to entertain ourselves. If you’re like me, you have probably gotten tired of Twitter and Facebook, or at least the Social Media Certified Epidemiologists who seem to dominate those platforms lately. Plus at this point the oil cuts aren’t finalized so I can’t opine on that, although I will at some point don’t you worry.   You’ve probably also gotten tired of and will never miss all the talking heads, the government press conferences, the criticisms of the government press […]


Apr
03

He Ain’t Pretty

He’s my forecast…   Many apologies to the Hollies for that fairly cheap appropriation of one of their biggest commercial hits but, as this self-isolation social distancing thing continues I find myself going ever deeper down the rabbit hole of music that I used to regularly listen and waxing nostalgic about repressed memories.   Moreover (what a great word), it seems apt as a title for my first quarter report card on my forecast. It is not pretty. It is downright ugly. You can rest assured that there is no real passing grade in anything […]


Mar
27

Peak (tight) oil?

Good day everyone, I hope you are all safe and sound and self-isolating to the best of your abilities, I understand it isn’t easy for everyone, jobs are different, some people are on the front lines and others don’t have the luxury of being a home office, cloud based desk jockey like me.   These are truly bizarre and uncertain times and as such, everything appears to be in flux, including where to take this blog on a week to week basis. Last week was about our response to COVID-19 and what we are doing […]


Mar
21

Covid-19 and Stormont

Or as I like to call it, Office Cat Week 1.   Another abbreviated blog this week, which of course is weird seeing as how I have so much time on my hands what with being housebound for the past week and how verbose I can be. But as luck would have it, my message this week is intentionally brief and to the point and is focused on what we are doing in the short term to manage through this COVID-19 crisis.   Like most companies, our business has felt immediate impacts from the Coronavirus […]


Mar
15

Connections

Abbreviated this week AND late, but please read to the end, and no hoarding!   Another week, another 7 days of mayhem and chaos across the globe as the insanity of Coronavirus Panic sweeps North America and picks the scab off of civil society – exposing the festering underbelly of human nature while all the while governments attempt to wrestle this crisis to at the very least a stalemate.   I’m not going to get on too much about what is happening in grocery stores as I am kind of all done with that. From […]


Mar
06

Remain Calm!

Alright folks, it’s March! Are we ready for 2020 to be over yet? I most certainly am. Are you desperately waiting to hear the sweet guitar intro to Here Comes the Sun on the radio – always my first indication that we are finally emerging from the depths of winter and the only song 100% guaranteed to put a smile on my face?   It’s been a long, cold, lonely winter folks, but I think we may just make it through. Days are longer, smiles are returning, all that stuff. As they say, we all […]


Feb
28

A Grand Break

Hi everyone, I’m back! Did anyone miss me? Did anyone even know I was gone? Seriously, did anyone even notice? This is important to me because, well, I like to feel important. And I like to think that I play some small role in my readers’ lives whether it is through the injection of some levity into their lives or some pithy and relevant insight into the events that shape our lives or just an entertaining five to ten minute read in your favourite place to do such things.   So, where was I last […]


Feb
14

Not a Protest Column

I originally thought this week’s blog would be a sweet and sentimental riff on Valentine’s Day (given that today is of course Valentine’s Day) and I may still include a poem at the end because that’s what I do, but that didn’t seem topical enough.   Then I thought, hey, what if I write something about the current fever swamp of protests against the Coastal Gas Link pipeline by, at last count, dozens of groups earnest and ill-informed protestors across the country and the chaos they are causing for commuter and industrial rail traffic across […]


Feb
07

Piping Hot News

Good afternoon fellow readers. It brings me great pleasure to announce that the month of January 2020 has now come to an official end. Feel free to stand up and applaud as the longest and worst month of the past decade has come to a merciful close. And in celebration of that august occasion, I am taking this moment to turn over a new leaf, to put on my relentlessly positive hat (yes, I have one) and engage in a blog that will be filled with nothing but good news. Okay, it won’t be nothing […]


Jan
31

Super Groundhog January Over Bowl Day

Are we actually doing this again? This is now the third week in a row where cockamamie outside events have made it impossible for me to write cogently about the state of the energy industry either here or abroad. What with the Super Bowl coming up on Sunday (more on that later of course), the ongoing coronavirus madness, the impeachment protocols and now, of all things, Groundhog Day to contend with, I am at a loss as to when I will ever get the chance to write about energy issues ever again.   Although, with […]


Jan
24

Doomsday

First we come for the writer’s block, then we come for the writer. What a week it has been. You might say downright apocalyptic. Seriously folks, has there been a week in the recent past like this past one where it felt we were just hanging on by our fingernails?   Considering that just last week here in Canada we were shivering our way through a typical Canadian cold snap, thanking our lucky charms that we are the beneficiaries of a bounty of energy availability, the events that have transpired and accelerated over the past […]


Jan
17

Icy writer’s block

Ugh, here we are. It happens every year. One week I expend an inordinate amount of energy and mental capital preparing my Fearless Forecast and the next I find myself sitting in my exceedingly messy office, staring hopelessly at my monitor (a nice oversized Hi-Def one by the way but not one of those fancy pants pretentious curved ones that some people get – ahem), shivering from how absurdly cold it is and completely unable to start, let alone finish, the blog.   This of course is truly bizarre to me because there is so […]


Jan
10

Fearless Forecast – Decade Edition

Are you ready for it? Because I sure am! Brace yourselves dear readers – it is that time of year where I lay myself bare to all of your collective scorn and ridicule and put out the one and only Fearless Forecast that you absolutely must read, right now, before the market opportunity escapes you! Read it! And sorry, it is long.   Anyhoo, step right up and let me tell you about the prognostications that will amplify and electrify your portfolios. The stock picks and the macro directions that will set you on the […]


Jan
03

Year in Review – Ugh

OK folks, that’s a wrap. The year is over. Finally. And what a year it has been, particularly for the energy sector. And by that I mean it hasn’t been a particularly great year. In fact, I feel it has been a bit of a lousy year. A forgettable year. A dumpster fire of a disaster year. Even with prices staging a super-excited late year rally, the sector is still stuck in the weeds, trying to figure out its way.   Here in Alberta, it’s even worse than elsewhere. For the umpteenth year in a […]


Dec
24

Twas the Night Before

Well here it is, Christmas Eve, the shopping is finally stopping and the family is sitting around being uber-lazy and getting ready for the big day. While I rarely veer off my scheduled Friday blog, it has become somewhat of a tradition to do one last post before Christmas and after subjecting everyone to movie lists, Advent calendars and all that jazz, it’s nice to do a quick best wishes for the holidays missive.   It is worthy of note that unlike last year, where we careened into the new year on a wave of […]


Dec
20

Top 10 Movies Plus 1

Well what an eventful week or so it has been. We had Andrew Scheer step down as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Boris Johnson winning an unprecedented and bizarre mandate to wreck the United Kingdom via Brexit and good old Donald Trump getting the bad news that he is only the third president in the long and illustrious history of the United States to be impeached (I’m not orange, I’m peach!). Topping it all off was the Alberta War Room getting caught red-handed in a case of amateur hour logo theft. Ouch!   […]


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