Crude Observations

Quid Pro Quo(s)

Well I hope everyone is relieved. We appear to have made it through an entire week without any major scandal or government edict causing chaos locally, regionally, nationally or globally. OK, so that’s not even remotely true, but it does feel like this week was less eventful than the week before, at least here in Canada. OK, not in Canada, maybe in Alberta. Well except for all the stuff that went on here too. Fine, I give up. It’s been another week of random chaos, government bills run amok, new cabinets (more on that next week maybe) and partisan head-bashing. Although I must say, from an Albertan perspective, I will say this, with Premier Jason Kenney out drumming up dollars in Texas, everything felt just that much calmer. And with the price of oil silently creeping upwards, many may be breathing a quiet sigh of relief.


Down south? Another story altogether. Canadians as a whole have been watching in fascination as the public impeachment hearings enter their second week with testimony covering the gamut from people loving Trump’s a** to American rappers in Swedish jails to Ukrainian extortion to crazy Rudy to “everyone knew” to nude photos of Trump (why is that Devin Nunes guy so obsessed with this?) to Jim Jordan’s inability to ever find his jacket. Testimony has been called bombshell, hearsay, fake news, devastating and talking points on either side seem to be in flux as no one really knows where it will all end. I lived through the whole Clinton impeachment and this one is every bit as much of a partisan gong show as that was. It is truly amazing to watch democracy at work. And I may be a bit obsessed.


As we all know, this process is all centred around that one call, that one “perfect” call to the Ukrainians wherein Donald Trump allegedly requested a quid pro quo of military aid for an investigation into a political rival. This of course makes one think – what if there was another call? Maybe with even more evidence? Would that be worth exploring? Why yes, yes it would.


Well, as I have recently found out, there are many more calls and as luck would have it, someone slid a thumb drive under my door earlier this week that had recordings of these calls as made from the White House and I am going to present them to you in completely unredacted fashion so that you can pass judgement as you see fit. First a word of warning – these are explosive and not for the weak of heart.


Note that on the recording, there appear to be multiple people in the room but the only ones I really recognize are Donald Trump and Rudy Giulianin. There is another voice that speaks a lot who I have named Anonymous.




(shuffling of chairs, random coughing)


Donald J Trump (DJT): Well, what do you all think – never mind, I don’t care. I don’t understand this whole impeachment nonsense since I did nothing wrong, right? It’s not like there are any actual rules that say I can’t use my position of influence for personal gain? The call was perfect, beautiful. A tremendous call. Served my, I mean our, interests bigly. That Ukraine guy was for sure going to stick it to Biden, I mean root out “corruption” to help me, I mean us as in the US us, not us Trump us and make sure our 2020 election is free from Ukraine influence or whatever, because I’m going to win a tremendous victory, thanks to Russia, I mean a great economy. And all we had to do was dangle a visit and squeeze them on some piddly military aid – do they even need that? Why are we sending them aid anyway, when NATO or Russia or Turkey could do it. Anyway, let Shifty Schiff continue on with his hearings, we’ve got bigger things to do.


Rudy: You bet. For sure Mr. President. You’re the best!


DJT: So I’ve been thinking…


Anonymous: (Sharp intake of breath, muttering) Oh my god what now.


DJT: I’ve been thinking that this call was so perfect that we should try this same strategy with other countries. We may have just hit the gusher here for my re-election campaign  – I mean US interests. Who else can we call? Do we have anyone on speed dial?


Anon: Umm, well Mr. President, don’t you think you should maybe hold off on any more calls until we get a better idea of where this process is going? We don’t want to give them any more witnesses.


DJT: Nonsense. They’ll be perfect calls, you’ll see. Come on, let’s do this. Choose an easy one first!


Anon: I guess. How about Saudi Arabia? They are generally willing to do deals.


DJT: Great. Saudis – love those guys with their desert, money and oil and stuff.


(phone ringing)


Voice (MBS): Hello?


Anon: Hold for the President please (whispering) Please sir, be careful…


DJT: MBS! It’s Donald, how are you?


MBS: Excellent Mr. President, we are enjoying lovely weather and eagerly await the result of our IPO of Saudi Aramco in the coming weeks.


DJT: Tremendous. It’s going to be the best IPO. Save me some shares, but not in my name. Use the usual accounts.


MBS: Of course Mr. President.


DJT: Great. Look MB, I don’t have a lot of time, so I’ll get to the point. I need a favour. Rudy will finalize the details, but here’s what is going to happen. I need you to announce a corruption investigation into Joe Biden and that horrible Elizabeth Warren  for me. Make it believable, like that they tried to get free shares in your IPO or something.


MBS: Umm, OK, but I’m not sure that’s credible Mr. President as the IPO is very limited to family members and political benefactors like yourself…


DJT: Details. As I said talk to Rudy. But do me this favour and I’ll be good to you. How about jacking up our military presence good, maybe bombing Iran good, maybe, just maybe, a certain video…


MBS: Hmm


DJT: Great thanks! (hangs up phone) See? Perfect!


Anon: Oh my god. I’m going to jail.


Rudy Giuliani: Great job Mr. President. I’ll get ready to go to the Kingdom tomorrow. Should I use the usual people?


DJT: Of course, only the best people. This stuff is easy. Who is next? China? Yeah, let’s call China.


(phone ringing)


President Xi: Hello? Who is this? How did you get my private mobile number? Someone at Huawei will go to prison over this.


DJT: Relax Xi, it’s me, your best friend Donald Trump. Look, I know you don’t have a lot of time so I wanted to make a proposal to you, not a quid pro quo of course, just a couple of friends and world leaders who could use a break doing each other random favours.


Xi: I know I shouldn’t be, but I’m listening.


DJT: Great. Look, I’m not going to get re-elected with all these tariffs that I’ve imposed because they are crushing farmers, but I’m going to look like a real loser and bad negotiator if I just repeal them now.


Xi: But you are a bad negotiator. You are impulsive and uninformed.


DJT: So what, which one of us has a gold toilet? I win. Look, I need you to completely back down on tariffs, like get rid of them. Then I can get rid of mine.


Xi: What is in it for me?


DJT: How about I give you Hong Kong?


Xi: What?


DJT: OK, you drive a hard bargain. You cut your tariffs to help me get re-elected and the US will cut all of ours and you can have Hong Kong and Taiwan – we won’t stand in the way. And all sanctions against Huawei will be removed and we’ll stop accusing you of intellectual property theft. But that’s my final offer, best I can do. Rudy will handle the details.


Xi: Umm, OK


DJT: Art of the Deal baby – gotta run… (phone hangs up). Ahh, Perfect call again!


Anon: Mr. President, I don’t think you can do all that.


Rudy: Too late, it’s already done – I just told Taiwan they are on their own.


Anon: (whispering) God help us all – this is going to be world war 3.


DJT: Who’s next? I know – Rocket Man! I have him on speed dial…


Kim Jong Un: Comrade Donald – so nice to hear from you!


DJT: Nice to chat Mr. Chairman. Look, I don’t have a lot of time and people are listening in.


KJU: Of course we are listening, I put a bug in your cell phone while you were eating our special North Korean Fried Chicken.


DJT: Not that kind of listening, nosy people here, so I’m going to have to talk in code. Do you remember our secret code?


KJU: Yes, what did you call it again? Pig Latin?


DJT: Yes that’s it. Write this down. I need a avour-fay to help my ampaign-cay. I need you to announce that ernie-bay anders-say sold you ucular-nay ech-tay and that you have so many bombs thanks to him, and not ina-chay. OK?


KJU: That is a big favour. What is in it for me?


DJT: You can have the penthouse in my upcoming Moscow development. And I won’t nuke you – remember I have the odes-cay. Rudy will confirm the details with you. Have some cash ready for him, I’m working him pretty hard these days but he’s good at all this back channel stuff.


Rudy: Thank you Mr. President. Kim – remember I like to receive my payments in unmarked bills in a suitcase left in my hotel room.


KJU: Of course.


DJT: (phone hangs up) Another perfect call! This is how all foreign policy should get done. You have a need, you call a world leader. I scratch their back, they scratch mine and if they don’t, I threaten to bomb them! How cool is that!


Anon: I don’t think that is how it is supposed to work, sir.


Rudy: Oh – so who made you such an expert in foreign affairs? I’d have you know, I’ve been shaking down foreign governments for years, not just during this administration. The dictators love doing deals with the Don.


DJT: Alright, who’s next? UK and that moron Boris Johnson or Mexico?


Anon: I suppose we should call the United Kingdom first.


(phone ringing)


Boris: Boris here, what can I do for you?


DJT: Bobo – it’s Donnie. How goes the election?


BJ: Swimmingly Donnie – thanks for asking! We are way ahead in the polls and hope to win.


DJT: Excellent – I will do you favour if you can do one for me.


BJ: I’m listening.


DJT: I need you to leak to the media that Joe Biden and his corrupt crony kid are actively interfering in the UK election and that Bernie Sanders stole the Queen’s corgis. In exchange, I will give you my full support in your upcoming election.


BJ: Please don’t Donald – that won’t work here – no one likes you. You’ll make me lose.


DJT: Nonsense – I’ve already sent the Tweet. Coordinate everything through Rudy. Tata. (hangs up). This is the bigliest idea I have ever had. Let’s call Mexico next, I feel a beautiful wall coming on.


Anon: I think I’m going to be sick.


Rudy: Pull it together lightweight!


DJT: AMLO, is that you? Hello! Or as they say in Mexican, Ole Taco Bell!


AMLO: Yes Mr. Presidente, what now. We are not paying for your stupid wall. What is happening with my free trade agreement? You promised a beautiful agreement.


DJT: And you will get it. It will be tremendous. The best agreement. But I need you to do me a favour.


AMLO: What kind of favour do you think I can do for you Mr. President that we haven’t already done.


DJT: I need you to let it leak that everyone of the candidates for the Democratic nomination has now or has in the past employed illegal immigrant gang members who have killed innocent white people while robbing them at gun point.


AMLO: That is… odd. What is in it for the people of Mexico?


DJT: I will keep building the wall. And I’ll tell people you have paid for it. Rudy will reach out to you.


AMLO: I don’t see how that helps…


DJT: Great! As they in Mexico – enchiladavista!


Anon: Mr. President, if I may


DJT: No, you may not. Time to call the other half of North America – get me Justin the sock man of the North!


Trudeau: Bonjours, bienvenue au Canada!


DJT: My good friend Justin, so nice to hear you have learned German!


(sound of a hand slapping a head)


Justin: Well one of those European languages right? What can I do for you Donald, I’m kind of busy right now trying to figure out what to do with this new government of mine.


DJT: Right congratulations on that – seems like Barack gave you a bit of a lift, surprised you didn’t ask for my endorsement.


Justin: Ah, well you know how it is Donald, we don’t like people interfering in our elections, unless they do so secretly and without our knowledge.


DJT: Gotcha – hey, what kind of socks are you wearing? I hear that’s your thing.


Justin: Funny you should ask, I just got these today – they are socks with the faces of Jason Kenney, Scott Moe and the leaders of the other Federal parties on them – it was one of those Facebook promos. But Don, surely you didn’t call me to talk about socks.


DJT: No Justin, I didn’t. Look, you let Barack Obama help you win and now I need you to help me win. I need you to tell the media that Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren are actually Canadian citizens and make up some fake birth certificates to prove it. In exchange, I am willing to offer you, oh I don’t know, a seat on the UN Security Council and we’ll kidnap that pesky Kenney character here when he visits Texas. Rudy will coordinate everything.


Justin: Your offer is very generous Mr. President but no deal. Here’s our deal instead. You build us our Keystone XL pipeline or we cut off all exports of genuine Canadian maple syrup. Quid pro quo.


DJT: Are you shaking me down Justin?


Justin: Yes sir, I believe I am.


DJT: I’ve got to put you on hold a sec. (sound of rustling) Ah there’s my cell phone… (ringing) Hello Vlad? It’s me, Donnie Donuts. Got a sec? Great. Hey, remember that thing we discussed in Helsinki ? Yeah, that one. The Covfefe Protocol. It’s on. Rudy is around to coordinate.


Rudy: Those are the best two calls yet Mr. President. Our Russian/American energy companies are going to do great. What about Justin – he’s still on hold.


DJT: Leave him hanging. No one shakes down the Donald. Let’s see how much he enjoys being Prime Minister after the Russian invasion of Canada!


Anon: I need to write a book about this.


Final Note – I see where Cold Play (remember them?) has announced they won’t tour for their new album because of concerns about emissions and climate. How bad is their new album?


Prices as at November 22, 2019

  • Oil prices are up for the week (slightly) again. WCS gap widens.
    • Storage posted an increase week over week once again
    • Production held flat after up-week
    • Rig Counts: Alberta up 3; US down week over week
    • Natural gas storage above last year; approximately 5-year avg
  • WTI Crude: $57.90 ($57.78)
  • Western Canada Select: $38.74 ($39.18)
  • AECO Spot: $2.40 ($2.42)
  • NYMEX Gas: 2.64 ($2.617)
  • US/Canadian Dollar: $0.7522 ($0.7544)



  • As at November 15, 2019, US crude oil supplies were at 450.4 million barrels, an increase of 1.4 million barrels from the previous week and an increase of 6.9 million barrels above last year.
    • The number of days oil supply in storage is 28.1 compared to 27.0 last year at this time.
    • Production was flat for the week at 12.800 million barrels per day. Production last year at the same time was 11.700 million barrels per day.
    • Imports increased to 5.972 million barrels from 5.750 million barrels per day compared to 7.554 million barrels per day last year.
    • Crude exports from the US rose to 3.027 million barrels per day from 2.633 million barrels per day last week compared to 1.969 million barrels per day a year ago
    • Canadian exports to the US were 3.195 million barrels a day
    • Refinery inputs rose during the during the week to 16.435 million barrels per day
  • As at November 15, 2019, US natural gas in storage was 3,638 billion cubic feet (Bcf), which is 2% lower than the 5-year average and about 16% higher than last year’s level, following an implied net withdrawal of 89 Bcf during the report week
    • Overall U.S. natural gas consumption fell by 5% during the report week.
    • Production was flat for the week. Imports from Canada fell 17% from the week before. Exports to Mexico were unchanged for the week
    • LNG exports totaled 43 Bcf
  • As of November 22, 2019, the Canadian rig count was up 3 at 135 (AB – 91; BC – 10; SK – 31; MB – 3; Other – 2). Rig count for the same period last year was 202.
  • US Onshore Oil rig count at November 22, 2019 is at 671, down 3 from the week prior.
    • Peak rig count was October 10, 2014 at 1,609
  • Natural gas rigs drilling in the United States were flat at 129.
    • 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 was flat at 22.
    • Offshore peak rig count at January 1, 2015 was 55

US split of Oil vs Gas rigs is 84%/16%, in Canada the split is 63%/37%


Trump Watch: “I want a trial” if House Democrats vote to impeach

Kenney Watch (new!)Novel suggestion for Quebec’s propane shortage…. build a pipeline!? (note to Kenney – there already is one)

Trudeau Watch (for balance): ¾ of Cabinet seats go to Ontario (46%) and Quebec (30%) MP’s.

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