Crude Observations

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.


Well at least we can hop on a flight and head to Phoenix to soak up some heat and rays and maybe go for a dip in a pool. What’s that? The border is closed until June 21? No flights anyway? Limited pool opening?


Ah come on!


Well at least I can go to a restaurant for a properly socially distanced meal and a pint. What? Not in Calgary until the 25th? Because we didn’t do a good enough job of flattening the curve?


Well that blows.


And here I was looking for an excuse to do a short blog because I was going to finally have something else to do, except it turns out it’s going to be a short blog simply because there is nothing else to do.


Not warm enough to spend consistent time outside, busy enough to do work, but no one else is working this aft. I can’t golf because, well, I can’t golf.


Ultimately I want to get done the blog and move on. I can’t imagine anyone spending a lot of time reading it this particular weekend as we hit week 273 of pandemic lock down and social distancing.


And as I look at all this bad news about both he pandemic and the economy, I find myself casting about for nuggets that show me a ray of sunshine in an otherwise, how shall we say it, discouraging world.


And wouldn’t you know it, as expected, Doug Ford happened.


Wait. What?


No kidding right? What in the world has happened with Doug Ford?


I was surfing Twitter (is that an expression?) late last night and I passed a video that had been posted of a happy, smiling Doug Ford. And what was he doing? He was making a damn cherry cheese cake and having an absolutely riotous fun time doing it. It was fascinating, and not in a train wreck way. It was the absolute best bit of empathetic retail politics I have seen out of a Conservative politician since… well since forever it feels. And it was fun.


Baking with Doug!


Who would have thought Mr. Slash and Burn, hire your pals, bumble through your first year, lose massive support and face the prospect of party revolt Doug Ford would rise to the occasion in a pandemic.


And this got me thinking. What if some of the other politicians and leaders had a similar emotional breakthrough or a clever communications person who could encourage them to try something similar. What a great idea, right?


Well here are a few I personally would like to see.


Juggling with Jason


In this TikTok, we get to observe Alberta Premier Jason Kenney juggle an increasing amount of chainsaws that are being fed to him by a Norwegian portfolio manager while the Darth Vader theme plays. In the background is an assortment of what can only be medical professionals dressed in PPE. It is uncertain if they are there to provide assistance in the event of a chainsaw accident or if they are waiting their turn. At the end of the video, Mr. Kenney executes an elegant 180 and juggles the chainsaws behind his back.


Pandemic Theatre with Trudeau


This extended video on Instagram sees Canada’s Prime Minister first giving a lesson on how to apply stage makeup during a pandemic, which as we know is by no means easy. The highlight of the video is of course Trudeau trying to apply dark makeup to his face and struggling to conceal his by now Unabomberesque salt and pepper beard. Once fully made up, our middle-aged thespianic educator dons a frilly costume and proceeds to recite some of the more exciting passages from Othello.


Trucking with Trump


10-4 Good Buddy. This video, only available on Beta for some reason, is a tribute to the kings of the road – the long haul trucker. The video opens with Trump sitting in the passenger seat of a big rig, all toothy orange smiles, giving a big thumbs up and then follows him on a journey across the heartland. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, all the hotels and restaurants are closed so there is nowhere to eat or sleep and Trump appears horrified when he realizes he will be forced to sleep behind the seats in a pretty tight cabin, but at least the port-a-pottie is painted gold and there’s a MAGA sticker on the door. The highlight of this video is Trump getting fed up with all the closed facilities so he calls Fox news and declares the country open and has the driver (you didn’t think Trump was driving) get him a bucket of chicken on UberEats. The closing shot is Trump taking off on Air Force One while our driver stares wistfully after him, clutching a handful of 10% off coupons for Trump Steaks.


Shaving with the Sheik


One thing you’ll notice if you follow oil, OPEC and Saudi Arabia long enough is how perfectly manicured Mohammed Bin Salman is. How does he do that, especially during a pandemic you ask yourself? Well, prepare to be amazed. First it starts with getting rid of the major clumps of hair that have grown out in the last while, and for this the prince prefers a bone saw. After making quick work of the messy bits, the Prince selects from among a set of designer scalpels, each of different size and shape to achieve his signature perfect close shave. Once complete, the last step is moisturizer and for this our young prince has a proprietary blend of one part lye and 4 parts tears of a thousand virgins.


Handicapping with Obama


Well here’s a guy no one’s heard from in quite a while! And here we all thought he had retired to intellectual boredom, satisfied to watch his successor flail away and hopefully not fritter away all he had built over that past eight years. Well too bad so sad, right Barack? Perhaps inspired by current events or maybe just frustrated at the bizarre convention of not commenting on other presidents, Obama decided to film this video where he takes his favourite activity – picking brackets in the Final 4 and applies that handicapping knowledge to help watchers pick winners in the upcoming US Federal Election. While 2-1 odds seems fairly generous on Biden, it’s hard not to follow the money the sharps are putting up. The odds may close closer in, but then again, maybe not.


Big Game Hunting with Vlad


This grainy video, delivered on a thumb drive taped to the underside of a park bench appears to have been recorded without the participants knowledge. As the video opens we see a shirtless Vladimir Putin struggling to mount a horse. Finally getting a boost, he poses for a bunch of photographs and then dismounts. The next shot is Putin on the same horse but in a woodland setting. The secret recording shows transport trucks in the background. An aide rushes up and hands him a rifle which he points and pretends to fire. The next scene is truly bizarre but what can only be a giant bear stuffy s brought out and carefully laid on the ground. Out of nowhere Putin jumps on it and stabs it repeatedly and then gets up, stares into a camera and says: “Easy as changing an election.”


Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous Permian CEOs


In this series of videos, we are treated to a tour of the fabulous mansions owned by some of the richest people in the world, the CEOs of Permian drillers. Many of these titans of industry have collected hundreds of millions of dollars from their companies in salary and perks, all in the name of shareholder value. In fact, some of these guys have net worth so high it exceeds the market cap of the companies they lead! We learn first hand how you can borrow like a maniac, pour money underground (metaphorically), set it on fire (a little less metasphorically), declare bankruptcy and then emerge from the smoldering wreck that was once a viable company with your riches and ego intact and, as luck would have it, the opportunity to do it all over again.


How do you like me now with Dubya


In this video a forlorn George W Bush stands on a windswept Texas plain, the sun setting gloriously behind him, looking directly at the camera and holding a picture of Donald Trump. After about 15 seconds, he shrugs and walks away.


Email Security with Hillary


I know lots of us are struggling with how to protect data in this age of home office working and sophisticated hacking. I know I am. In this handy video, Hillary Clinton walks people through the basics of network and home office server security and shows how it is possible to receive secure email on more than one device and to more than one email. She then shares her sophisticated archiving system for all the emails she needs to keep private. Ironically, when trying to show how to retrieve the emails, it appears she forgets the password – “crap, thisis what happened with the other 30,000) she is heard muttering as the video ends.


Nap Time with Joe


This TikTok is really trending and many A-listers are already doing their own version. The scene opens with Joe Biden sitting at a kitchen table staring at the camera. Slowly his eyes close and he falls asleep. The lullaby playing in the background slowly fades.


“Fire” with Canada’s Federal Conservative Party


This one is lots of fun. It starts with the entire Conservative Party Caucus gathered in a hotel ballroom, all appropriately socially distanced. After a minute, the lights go out and you hear a voice yelling fire. The lights come on and for a moment of stunned silence nothing happens then they all break for the doors, pushing each other out of the way like George Costanza. When the room finally clears, a single figure steps out of the shadows and surveys that chaos and damage. The camera zooms in and what do we see? Trudeau. Still dressed as Othello.


Transitions with Elizabeth


In this video, Elizabeth May hosts a town hall for a group of welders from Grande Prairie and tells them how much better off they are going to be installing solar panels for $30 an hour in Lethbridge instead of their current dirty gigs of working on pipelines and facilities an hour from home for three times that amount.


Quebec Investment Opportunities with Yves


In this video, Yves Blanchet of the Bloc Quebecois offers up a list and description of all the great investment opportunities there are in Quebec, especially the ones that can be co-invested with the Caisse de depot, the provincial government and the feds. While the opportunities are intriguing, the presentation is all in French so it’s hard to keep up. What kind of return can I get if I buy Bombardier one of the participants asks.  Blanchet goes silent. The video ends.


Cocktails with Office Cat


This video is recorded by yours truly. Clearly bored by another week of home office imprisonment (week 10!), your scribe pours himself a bourbon and opens the door to the office. Office cat walks in, hops onto his perch and turns his back on the unfortunate office troll and stares intently out the window. Cocktails with office cat.


Sorry folks. That’s all I’ve got. It’s a long weekend.


Here’s a rig count chart from the Permian.



Stormont Capital Crude Coffee


We had the fourth edition of this last Tuesday at 10 AM and it was another great conversation.


Topics included the OWA contracts, capital, the “War Room”, conservative strategy (or lack thereof), government ineptness, the May/Blanchet anti-oil statements and how to react to them, the confusing strategy of energy advocacy groups and how to wage a fact based campaign in the face of visceral emotion (hint – don’t!).


This week I promise to have another interesting guest who isn’t me, although I reserve the right to rant about stuff that bugs me, just because.


As always, if you want to participate, please email me and I will add you to the roster. I send out a Zoom invitation on Monday.


Stay safe. Wash hands. Be kind.


Prices as at May 15, 2020


  • Oil
    • Oil storage was… down? (that was unexpected)
    • Production was down
    • OPEC+++++ cuts starting
  • Natural Gas
    • Storage was up, historically very high; consumption down; production flat; exports flat.
  • WTI Crude: $29.79 ($26.10)
  • Western Canada Select: $21.54 ($20.98)
  • AECO Spot: $1.878 ($1.891)
  • NYMEX Gas: $1.565 ($1.746)
  • US/Canadian Dollar: $0.7106($0.7147)



  • As at May 8, 2020, US crude oil supplies were at 531.5 million barrels, an decrease of 0.7 million barrels from the previous week and a increase of 59.4 million barrels from last year.
    • The number of days oil supply in storage is 42.0 compared to 28.6 last year at this time.
    • Production was down 300k for the week at 11.600 million barrels per day. Production last year at the same time was 12.100 million barrels per day.
    • Imports fell to 5.391 million barrels from 5.712 million barrels per day compared to 7.612 million barrels per day last year.
    • Crude exports from the US fell to 3.525 million barrels per day from 3.546 million barrels per day last week compared to 3.347 million barrels per day a year ago
    • Canadian exports to the US fell to 2.897 million barrels a day from 3.173 million barrels per day last week
    • Refinery inputs decreased during the week to 12.383 million barrels per day
  • As at May 8, 2020, US natural gas in storage was 2,422 billion cubic feet (Bcf), which is 21% above the 5-year average and about 52% higher than last year’s level, following an implied net injection of 103 Bcf during the report week
    • Overall U.S. natural gas consumption rose by 9.3% during the report week.
    • Production was up 0.2% for the week. Imports from Canada rose 17.3% from the week before. Exports to Mexico were up 3.8%.
    • LNG exports totaled 40 Bcf
  • As of May 15, 2020, the Canadian rig count decreased 3 to 23 (AB – 11; BC – 7; SK – 2; MB – 0; Other – 3). Rig count for the same period last year was 58.
  • US Onshore Oil rig count at May 15, 2020 is at 258, down 35 from the week prior.
    • Peak rig count was October 10, 2014 at 1,609
  • Natural gas rigs drilling in the United States is down 1 at 79
    • 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 down 3 at 12.
    • Offshore peak rig count at January 1, 2015 was 55

US split of Oil vs Gas rigs is 86%/14%, in Canada the split is 66%/34%


Trump Watch: No mask. WH staffer has tested positive. Doesn’t like TV ads.

Kenney Watch (new!): Reopening things so that they don’t have to stay closed.

Trudeau Watch (for balance): Money for Ag! New guest house at the cottage, can I visit?

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