Crude Observations


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 seven days are enough to convince oneself that the sky is indeed falling. The world as we know it is ending.


How do I know this? Well isn’t it obvious? I looked at the Doomsday Clock. That’s right. The Doomsday Clock. The clock that tells us when it is all going to end.


Betcha didn’t even know that we had one. Well we do and we are now 100 seconds from midnight. What does that mean? Well the scientists who run the “Doomsday Clock” (who are in no way alarmist by the way) track some cockamamie index of the human condition and calculate how far we are away from nuclear war and extinction and express it using a clock analogy of all things.


Since 2018 we’ve been at 2 minutes to midnight but now, a mere two years later, we are 1/6th closer to global annihilation. At that pace, assuming we aren’t accelerating even more, we will be done in 10 years, which works well for me since I will be at retirement age then and, as anyone who works in or near the oil patch knows, those retirement funds have been severely stressed in the last half-decade.


At any rate, the Doomsday Clock. Not a madcap invention by some James Bond style super-villain or some goofy thing with bad special effects from the Scifi channel. Nope, a real thing, run by real scientists, trying to scare real people.


I must ask myself at this point, what in the world would give them the idea that this week of all weeks is the time to update the clock. What recent events inspired this?


Are there sings of Doom or the Apocalypse that forced their hands?


As I alluded to above, a lot has happened in the past week, so it’s worth taking a look and objectively assessing the various calamities.


Donald Trump Impeachment and the Death of Democracy as we know it


That’s right, this week is the beginning (and likely the end) of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate. Clearly this trial is going to devolve along partisan lines and if you are expecting some kind of late-breaking stampede of Republicans over to the Democratic side, you have clearly been spending too much time partaking in Canada’s copious amounts of legal cannabis. Under Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republicans have made a sham of the solemnity of this trial, which is entirely within their rights of course – they have the majority, they set the rules and they decide if witnesses are brought forward or not. The Democrats on their side are free to cry foul, call the whole charade a cover-up and a mockery.


All the while as this theatre plays out, there is one certainty – Donald Trump is guilty as charged for what he did. The only question is punishment. He shook down an ally for political gain as skillfully as any godfather from the old country. One party thinks he should be booted from office for it because they want to get the White House back under their control. The other party may secretly agree, but are terrified of a removed from office Trump and his Trumplestiltskin armies, hammering away at them on Twitter until, well, forever. And If there is one thing we know about his Trumpiness it’s that he won’t go quietly and that the GOP have little to no spine. At any rate, GOP senators aren’t completely suicidal – the best anyone can hope for is some kind of censure, but even that is a pipe dream. Ultimately, the Democrats won by impeaching him and exposing GOP cowardice and subservience to Trump. Now they have to go fight an election.


This isn’t the end of democracy. I see it as a major first step in restoring democracy. The American people have a chance to judge Donald Trump in November. The Democrats’ job is to find a candidate who can effectively oppose him. And let the chips fall where they may.


Coronavirus – and no, it’s not something you get from ice-cubes in Mexico


Over the course of the last few weeks, we have seen the development and spread out of China into other countries of a new strain of Coronavirus, similar to SARS or Bird Flu of the early 2000’s. For those of you who don’t recall, the Bird Flu disrupted global air travel, impacted the global economy and infected and killed many people. One of the largest and most permanently felt impacts in North America of course was the opportunistic increase in the price of chicken wings as entire flocks of chickens were slaughtered and disposed of and restaurants claimed a shortage. Another impact of course is that the world is now way better prepared for these types of outbreaks. We diagnose them earlier, share information, work together to develop cures/vaccines/treatments and do it all globally, instead of in isolation. Which is good thing right?


Not to judge by the market reaction. Oil prices, which had been stable in the high $50’s to low $60’s are suddenly down 10% over the last three days and the media is falling all over itself to irresponsibly position this as the second coming of the Spanish Influenza that killed millions worldwide if not some kind of Hollywood style “Outbreak” where some rare form of hemorrhagic fever ravages and wipes out entire regions of the globe.


Look, I can’t downplay the seriousness of this coronavirus, certainly for those affected and those who have succumbed to it. But for the most part this is confined to one particular region of China, and while patients have been detected in other parts of the world, it isn’t spreading as a pandemic. So until the World Health Organization declares some form of global emergency, it would seem prudent if we could all calm down a bit and keep some perspective. There are seven billion people in the world. The chances of this affecting any one specific person is remote. So, if you are an uniformed radio host, shut up and stop scaring my 11 year old daughter.


Elites gather in Davos, need I say more


Every year this thing happens and every year my invitation gets lost in the mail. What am I talking about? The World Economic Forum of course, now in its 50th year. An occasion where the elites of the world gather in the ski resort of Davos, Switzerland to dine on outrageously expensive gourmet food, bask in each other’s glory and be otherwise exceptionally fabulous, all while discussing the very fate of the world. Important stuff and I’m not there. Shows you how serious they are about solving things. Who was there? Well Donald Trump was there. He gave a speech saying the US was awesome, impeachment was a waste of time and that he was massively popular. Greta Thunberg was there! She gave two speeches! About the environment of course. Look, you know I like Greta, but this is a bit much. When I was 16, I organized a school walkout – just like her, but I didn’t get invited to Davos. No, I got an invitation to the Principal’s office and lectured about how April Fool’s Day jokes can backfire.


The theme this year of course was global warming and the evils of carbon. I understand that there were upwards of 300 private jets flying into Switzerland for this shindig. Nothing says concern for the environment than 100 plus billionaires and 50 plus heads of state dead-heading on private jets to hobnob with people who pay up to $600,000 to be part of an exclusive club at a ski resort. But what do I know. My carbon footprint is probably lower than Greta’s at this point, especially when you take into account the energy used to both defend and attack her.


So, is this apocalyptic or what? I am thinking “what”. It’s a gathering that garners increasing attention as its relevance fades. 50 years in and can anyone point to a single, important, policy change that has arisen from this confab? Didn’t think so.


I hereby propose an anti-Davos summit, to be held online, using Skype and dial-up. I will put a picture of a mountain behind me. We can discuss all the ways we want to take back our world from out of touch so-called elites. Details may or may not follow.


The Middle East is in a state of ongoing turmoil


Now Libya’s part of the gong show, with an ongoing battle for control shutting down oil production (not that prices would reflect that).


Doomsday sign? No, I don’t think so. More of the same. But worth monitoring nonetheless.


Jared Kushner and Donald Trump just invited Netenyahu and Benny Gantz (I almost wrote Bruno Ganz – a fine actor) to the White House to discuss Middle East peace.


Not Doomsday, but surely an “end of days” event that sees a sitting US president on trial for impeachment inviting an Israeli Prime Minister accused of bribery and corruption whose parliament is debating his immunity and his main rival to the White House to discuss a peace plan that has yet to be released and is extremely unlikely to achieve anything resembling peace. But it makes for a nice distraction for two leaders facing political hurricanes at home. Don’t believe me? Well how much faith do you actually have in a peace plan when you are only inviting one side to see it?


Global Warming


Well, duh.


Well those are the big ones, but I do have a few more signs that those Doomsday people may be right.


Aerosmith Turns 50


Where did the time go? It seems like only yesterday that Steven Tyler was warbling away on the local FM rock channel about Dreaming On and busting through walls to tell Run DMC to walk this way. This makes Aerosmith almost as old the Rolling Stones.


50 years since the Beatles broke up


Coincidence? I think not.


Here in Canada, we have managed to create our own signs of the Apocalypse, veritable leading indicators of the impending doom of global civilization as we know it. Here’s just a few.




That’s right. Beardgate. What does it mean? Well it seems our your drama teacher cum prime minister and emoter in chief has fiendishly decided to complete his total control over the masses by cynically replacing his rosy, closely shaven cheeks with a villainous salt and pepper beard thereby signifying his new-found “seriousness” and “gravitas” as the face of a minority government besieged by controversy and animus from Western Canada. It has also been interpreted as a not-so-subtle flipping off to the black face controversy that dogged him during the election. Or, he could have been like me, was on vacation and didn’t shave for a few days and thought, hey, I wonder what that would look like. Or an all-out attack on the energy industry by looking like a virtue-signalling environmentalist and a direct shot at Jason Kenney who clearly isn’t going to grow a beard, if he even can! Aha! Or he was bored with how he looked. We are doomed regardless.


The Great Canadian Donut (doughnut!) Scandal


If you thought Beardgate was the height of arrogance and manipulation, then allow me to introduce you to the Donut Scandal. Perpetrated yet again by the very same bearded menace of a Prime Minister, this event saw Justin Trudeau stop into a Winnipeg gourmet donut shop to pick up several dozen of those sweet rings of sugary goodness for his fellow anti-Alberta cabinet conspirators who were there on a “retreat” and then have the temerity to post about it on Twitter! The nerve! The Chutzpah! How dare he spend taxpayer dollars on (checks notes) a Canadian owned small business selling gourmet organic donuts when he could have spent a little bit less for a Brazil hedge fund owned franchises mass and centrally produced factory fare that each have a carbon footprint larger than Greta.


Canadians are weird. We can ascribe a political motivation to anything. Including supporting a local, high quality business that pays a living wage and makes from all accounts an insanely good product.


The donuts? Not apocalyptic. The reaction? Definite end of times.


The British Monarchy Crumbles and Canada is to blame (does it have something to do with donuts???)


Well this one took us all by surprise. Harry and Meghan have decided to leave the monarchy and go it alone, he with his $35+ million inheritance plus allowance and her with her millions in savings.


So no, the monarchy isn’t failing. The 6th in line heir to the throne doesn’t want it, so he’s off to the colonies.


Aside from self-righteous pundits saying “we don’t want them here” and pulling out all sorts of constitutional precedent and argument against them even being allowed in Canada, that only serve to make them appear as stuffy as they claim the royals are, the only thing apocalyptic about this is the onslaught of over the top criticism and bad jokes. Fortunately, the two wanna-be Canadians don’t appear to be in any dire straits and the Prince? Well Harry doesn’t mind if he doesn’t, make the scene. He’s got a daytime job, he’s doing alright. He can play the Honky Tonk like anything, saving it up, for Friday night. Which I guess will eventually make him the artist formerly know as prince.


George Soros is creating a Climate Change University with $1 billion.


I just saw this one and I for one think that any self-respecting white, I mean right wing ideologue should be quaking in their boots at this. It was only a matter of time until Soros’ true intentions were made clear. Now globalist, socialist, virtue-signalling, greenies can be pumped out of a university specifically created for this purpose, not the bastions of left wing brain-washing we currently have to endure across this country. AMIRITE??? It is truly sinister – a United Nations driven hegemony! Or, just another iteration of a rich guy looking to make a buck from kids wanting to learn – like Trump U!


Student ID#1 is likely going to Greta Thunberg provided she manages to finish high school. Of course now that she is hobnobbing with all the important people at Davos she may just elect to take a really long gap year.


Jason Kenney and the UCP overlords are taking a wrecking ball to Alberta’s schools, health care and whatever else they can find that isn’t oil and gas.


Look, I’m not a fan of every policy that the Kenney government rolls out. In fact there are many I strenuously object to, but running around saying the sky is falling isn’t going to change anything. Alberta has a spending problem (and a revenue problem). The UCP has their ideological ideas on how to fix it. These are all spending based and not revenue based. But you’re not going to temper their axe-swinging by raging on Twitter. You just get blocked – like me. No, you need to engage in the process. Talk to your MLA. Organize. Communicate. You’d be amazed what can get done. So not part of the Doomsday clock scenario


I’ve heard that maybe the event that advanced the Doomsday Clock has to do with sports. That’s right, sports. This one piqued my interest – the Baseball Writers Association had their Hall of Fame votes tallied and… Derek Jeter was a first ballot hall of famer. Great right? No. He wasn’t unanimous. One voter out of 397 didn’t pick him. One. Aside from the fact that this guy is a spectacular cob, it has clearly upset the balance of the universe enough that… what? That’s not it? No one really cares? What about Larry Walker – a Canadian! – who finally made it through, on his 10th and last year of eligibility? Is that it? No? Super Bowl? Kansas City finally making it back to the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years (or since the Beatles broke up)? Is that it?


No, no, no and no.


Time to check back with the Doomsday Clock Committee (how do I get on that one?).


What exactly do these eggheads determine to be the number one threat to the world?


Social Media.


Wait. What?


Are you kidding me? Not Trump. Not Russia. Not Iran. Not Coronavirus. Not Middle East wars. Nope. Twitter. Facebook.




Well, I do have a lot to say about that, but if you want to know what it is, you will have to go to my thread on Twitter, or see the pictures of it on Instagram. Or see how I spin it positively to make my life look fabulous and fun on Facebook.


Seriously folks, we do have serious problems and some of them (like donuts) have been enumerated above, and maybe social media making us fret over the insignificant and silly or anonymously obsess about the serious and earth-changing is distracting us from the job at hand but give your head a shake, it isn’t causing the end of the world.


I guess what I am trying to say is that at any given time, there are literally dozens if not hundreds of things that we can interpret as Doomsday Events to obsess about if we so choose. Stay informed, keep a little perspective, act rationally and dial back the rage. There is always a way through, enough with the scary clock.


Or, put another way:


When you’re feeling in the dumps

Don’t be silly chumps

Just purse your lips and whistle – that’s the thing.

Always look on the bright side of life

RIP Terry Jones

My 100 seconds are up. Tick tock. Off to get a donut.


Prices as at January 24, 2020

  • Oil prices are down on middle east news; WCS gap at $23
    • Storage remained essentially flat
    • Production remained consistent
    • Natural gas storage above last year; above 5-year avg
  • WTI Crude: $54.36 ($58.70)
  • Western Canada Select: $31.61 ($35.50)
  • AECO Spot: $2.31 ($2.32)
  • NYMEX Gas: $1.886 ($2.004)
  • US/Canadian Dollar: $0.7608 ($0.7664)



  • As at January 17, 2020, US crude oil supplies were at 428.1 million barrels, a decrease of 0.4 million barrels from the previous week and a decrease of 16.9 million barrels from last year.
    • The number of days oil supply in storage is 25.2 compared to 25.6 last year at this time.
    • Production was flat for the week at 13.000 million barrels per day. Production last year at the same time was 11.900 million barrels per day.
    • Imports decreased to 6.432 million barrels from 6.552 million barrels per day compared to 8.191 million barrels per day last year.
    • Crude exports from the US fell marginally to 3.414 million barrels per day from 3. 481 million barrels per day last week compared to 2.035 million barrels per day a year ago
    • Canadian exports to the US decreased to 3.559 million barrels a day from 3. 837 million barrels per day last week
    • Refinery inputs decreased during the week to 16.857 million barrels per day
  • As at January 17, 2020, US natural gas in storage was 2,947 billion cubic feet (Bcf), which is 251 BcF above the the 5-year average and about 23% higher than last year’s level, following an implied net withdrawal of 92 Bcf during the report week
    • Overall U.S. natural gas consumption rose by 17% during the report week.
    • Production was essentially flat for the week (down 1%). Imports from Canada increased 62% from the week before. Exports to Mexico decreased 7% week over week.
    • LNG exports totaled 54 Bcf
  • As of January 24, 2020, the onshore Canadian rig count was unchanged at 242 (AB – 170; BC – 17; SK – 52; MB – 3; Other – 0). Rig count for the same period last year was 172.
  • US Onshore Oil rig count at January 24, 2020 is at 676, up 3 from the week prior.
    • Peak rig count was October 10, 2014 at 1,609
  • Natural gas rigs drilling in the United States is down 5 at 115.
    • Peak rig count before the downturn was November 11, 2014 at 356 (note the actual peak gas rig count was 1,606 on August 29, 2008)
  • Offshore rig count decreased 1 to 20.
    • Offshore peak rig count at January 1, 2015 was 55

US split of Oil vs Gas rigs is 85%/15%, in Canada the split is 63%/37%


Trump Watch: Impeachment in the Senate!

Kenney Watch (new!): No more water for lawyers!

Trudeau Watch (for balance): Donuts!

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