Crude Observations

Could go either way

Warning – unedited stream of consciousness, just like Biden’s energy policies…


It’s been an eventful week hasn’t it, what with the Comicon variant rolling in and upsetting the entire global economy and throwing the energy sector into a major tizzy as well as the Biden administration trying their best to fumble their way through a politically expedient oil sector demonization play. Never mind the intellectual genius of the conservative party of Canada trying to blame inflation on pretty much every factor except for the ones that actually, you know, cause inflation.


It’s hard to make heads or tails of what’s going on. Omicron or Omnicron or Necromicon is super scary, not only because its terrifying Transformer-like name but also because, according to the media at least,  it comes from, shudder, Africa! But seriously, it was only first detected in Africa. South Africa to be precise. Where they are completely obsessed with sequencing COVID and uncovering variants. So it shouldn’t’ be surprising that the latest variant was detected there.


I mean think about it. South Africa, that tests thousands a day, and investigates a fair portion of those, detected a singular variant. Out of all the thousands that are continually being tested. Does any rational person think that pinpointing that one variant to one singular geographic location makes even a modicum of sense?


NO! Clearly this variant has been in circulation for a while. And at this point it’s likely everywhere. Come on people. We’ve done this before. Identify. Study. Gameplan. React. Not Identify and panic.


What is surprising, or maybe not, is the immediate over the top reaction to it.


Travel bans, oil prices tanking, media chicken littles running around in circles flapping their arms that the sky is falling. It was all a bit unseemly. I don’t mean to downplay the potential severity of the variant or of COVID in general. But doesn’t this seem a bit, over the top? For something we don’t know much about? Aside from the fact that it may be more transmissible and, on the early evidence, slightly milder?


Oil prices fell 20% in less than a week. Stock markets gyrated, groaned and barely held on.


I read where Goldman Sachs estimated that the price movement in oil was reflective of some 7 million barrel per day drop in demand when even if all air travel is shut, the impact is barely 1 million. This is insane. This more demand destruction than original COVID, where everyone shut down on March 13 2020 and hid in their homes for months. How is this even remotely comparable to that time? We have a pandemic that is raging with the Delta variant through unvaccinated populations. Even if it gets replaced with Omnipolishedchrome, aren’t we pretty much where we were anyway?


Even Oil-Busting Joe Biden went whole hog. Well, he pretended he didn’t and preached calm, but he announced that anyone flying into the United States needs to have a negative test within 24 hours. A tougher stance than any other time during his tenure with the entire pandemic. And given how terrible the testing regime is in pretty much every country, this is a de facto poor person ban.


And the Canadian government? Well who knows. Still need that PCR test to get in. And to be vaccinated to get on a plane. Now we need a second PCR test (free) on arrival. With a quarantine thrown in for good measure. Vaccines be damned! Talk about arm flapping.


Let’s lay this out for its remarkable logic. Let’s say you have a guy. Let’s call him Triple-vaxxed Stu. Stu is booked to go to, let’s say, Phoenix on December 26th, returning January 4th. To make this trip, he needs to get a Rapid test on Christmas Day, for $74. Assuming it’s negative, he can fly to and hang free in Phoenix until New Year’s Eve when he needs to get another test ($150) before boarding a plane a few days later only to stand in a super-spreader line at customs to get a free test ($150 to the taxpayer) whose results may or may not show up for four days (experience from October), all to find out that he’s probably safe because all he did in Phoenix was hang out with his equally vaxxed and tested Canadian family. So this $375 cost is aplied to the whole family instead of, I don’t know, making home test kits broadly available.


I know this sounds like privilege ranting, because I, sorry, Stu, is planning to travel, but it’s not even. My privilege ends where more important people’s privilege begins. Who am I talking about? Government? Rich people? Maybe. How about missionaries?


No, not that kind.


How about the 30,000 people from around the world who congregated on Glasgow a month ago for COP26, mostly maskless without any vaccine mandate. Anyone else remember the pictures of all the climate Zealots hobnobbing with each other? Including no less than 300 of our better than all of us climate do-gooders from Canada.


I was talking to a colleague from Scotland the other day who was mentioning the mysterious spike in COVID infections in Scotland in the latter part of November. Umm, Bueller?


Am I alone in thinking that this absurd global confab was just as likely to be the epicentre for the spreading of the Omichronologic variant back to all these delegates’ respective countries as a remote tribe of unvaccinated twenty-year old tribes people in Botswana?


Tell me that doesn’t make more sense? I dare you.


Which I guess in a misdirected sense means that the Ironic variant is a result of climate change.


I mean can’t everything be blamed on climate change? Seems like it is. Let’s run down the list.


  • Inflation




  • BC Weather


  • Highway design failure


  • Bieber Balls at Tim Hortons


  • Trump


  • Toto


  • Squid Games


  • Jason Kenney


  • Line 5


  • Wind


  • Lack of Wind


  • Too little oil


  • Too much oil


  • European energy prices


  • Asian LNG prices


  • Clouds


  • Volcanoes


  • Nickelback


I could go on, but I think you get my drift. In fact, I think that the quality of this blog is a result of climate change. Misdirected and suffering from too many inputs and variables.


There is no unifying theory. Or equation that can tie everything together, no matter how many directions you get pulled in at once.


Speaking of which, to follow up on my conversation with Biden from a few weeks back, clearly he wasn’t listening on how to go about getting gas prices down and raising his political fortunes.


How else to explain the bizarre theatre of the uninformed absurd coming out the White House on the oil and gas file since that infamous phone call. I really thought I was clear.


However, it appears that the Biden White House decided that the best course of action to “manage” oil prices was to cut off its nose to spite its face, package that nose up and give it to Russia while hiring Saudi Arabia to perform the restorative plastic surgery.


Consider in totality the following (and often contradictory) actions that all occurred in the last several weeks:


  • Chastising OPEC+ for not producing more oil
  • Telling oil companies they are evil profiteering monsters and responsible for high gasoline prices
  • Releasing millions of barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to ultimately be exported to China and India
  • Offering even more barrels to independent producers under a loan arrangement guaranteed to lose them money
  • A concurrent action by the US Fed to talk up inflation, cutting the knees out from the markets
  • Asking OPEC+ to produce more
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Launching the 378th inquiry into gas price manipulation
  • Having your energy secretary embarrass herself in a press conference with her (deliberate) obfuscation about actual production
  • Proposing new rules and royalties for drilling on federal land
  • Trying to cozy up to Russia, then Iran
  • Holding the largest off-shore lease auction in history
  • Build Back (sort of) Better
  • Exploring export bans, effectively shutting off a billion or so in daily funds flow into the Untied States
  • Asking OPEC for more production
  • Ignoring domestic producers
  • Talking the price down to a level that will keep shale guys from drilling thus ensuring that by the time the mid terms come around, supply will be so short that gas prices will shoot up making the Dems unelectable
  • Offered no relief to Europe and their energy crisis
  • Continue to dither on whether Canadian pipelines, that deliver 25%of US energy needs are actually necessary.


Riddle me this – how is this going to result in anything but uncertainty, volatility and panic in energy markets, especially in a world where 5% inflation (no longer transitory!) is the new reality?


If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would say that the Biden administration has some secret genius plan, but in all reality, it is an inescapable conclusion that they have no idea what they are doing on this file. If he wanted more oil production and lower prices, there are really only 2 places it can come from that are strategically intelligent – Canada and the US. But at least he stood up to OPEC. Sort of.


I actually blame it on Climate Change.


Or the Omnichromic variant.


OK, rant over. I have to move on or I may hyperventilate. Next week is the widely anticipated Hallmark Christmas movie review and all-time Christmas Movie ranking blog. I am sure you are all breathless with anticipation.


And now, time to cleanse the timeline.


So below is a spotify playlist of ‘80s hits.


Channel your inner Lloyd Dobler. Email me your favourite selection. Or just listen and enjoy.


Click on me, I’m a Cool 80’s Playlist

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