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Crude Observations

Oct
23

Debate?

As we careen madly to the close of this most unusual election season, Canadians can be forgiven for reaching peak election exhaustion. I am talking of course about the two simultaneous elections in BC and Saskatchewan and a narrowly averted one nationally since, as we know, each of those two elections will set Canada on an unalterable course for the foreseeable future.   Eager to show my prognosticative bona fides to my illustrious audience, let me share with you what is going to happen in each of these places.   First off, Saskatchewan will reliably […]


Oct
16

Rolling On

I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately and my brain has been spinning. First off, I got left off a “circle of smart friends” meme on Twitter so my feelings are currently a bit, shall we say, frayed. But I will get over it. Because I know I do a pretty good job pretending to be smart most days, sometimes even rising to the occasion and delivering a real dose of smartness right when it is least expected.   As just one example, I have been thinking a lot about Alberta. Our government. […]


Oct
10

Thanks, eh?

Another week come and gone, and our deranged world got just a tiny bit stranger. So strange in fact that  am writing this blog in the past because it was due on a Friday and today is Saturday and if things hold, I won’t be sending it out until tomorrow, which is Sunday.   So what happened that I am early/late with the blog? Well I went for a bike ride with a friend yesterday, along what is called the Legacy Trail which connects Canmore to Banff and runs just a shade under 45 km […]


Oct
02

Q3 Report Card. Oh My

Well folks, here we are. Three quarters of the way through the year and we still don`t have a good picture of where things are going to end up although the picture is possibly getting clearer by the day.   And yes, I realize that publishing my Q3 report card the day after Donald Trump and, it seems, a large portion of his inner circle has tested positive for COVID19 seems to miss the mark on being topical. So let’s get that out of the way.   First off, let me state my actual sincere […]


Sep
25

Whither LTO?

Well folks, another week gone by, another political crisis or two under our belts. I don’t know about the rest of you, but it’s getting to the point where instead of being constantly exhausted by all the hyper-partisan rhetoric and aggrievement that I am becoming numb to it.   Speech from the throne that doesn’t specifically address the issues facing the oil and gas industry? I’m over it, expected nothing more. Prime Ministerial address in prime time that was nothing more than an infomercial for government policies? You thought it might be different with this […]


Sep
18

My Interest is Peaked!

For us oil and gas types, there is a thing that happens around this time every year. You can almost set your old timey pocket watch by it, it is that predictable. No, I’m not talking about football (although let’s face it, I could be), nor am I talking about the annual exodus of Canada Geese to warmer climes or the annual weather debacle that is the Atlantic Hurricane season.   No, I’m talking about that September rush to get predictions in for next year, particularly on the energy side where it seems not a […]


Sep
12

Money Well Spent?

Well that’s annoying. As you can tell, this week’s blog is late (again). Rest assured, this is not a new thing I plan on doing. It was partially a deliberate choice. I had decided some time ago not to publish on 9/11 for a variety of reasons, but primarily because it was my daughter’s birthday and we had a small, socially distanced and masked birthday party planned at the Cat Café (it’s a thing – you get coffee and pet cats). Anyway, that was to be my afternoon, so I delayed publishing until the 12th. […]


Sep
05

Are you Ready for Some Football? (and M and A!)

Ah Labour Day. That annual celebration of the righteousness of the downtrodden worker, the brave collectives and essential workers, putting it all on the line day after day in order to enrich the greedy capitalist fat cats who live for exploiting the masses.   Or at least that’s the way it started. Now Labour Day is just the last long weekend of the summer, the flashing beacon that your time sitting around on your duff at the lake has come to end and that it is time to go back to work and back to […]


Aug
28

A Proposal to Stabilize our Treasury

Or, alternatively, a way to address our Paucity of Savings and Taxes.   On Thursday, Alberta’s provincial government gave its fiscal update and, folks, it’s grim and Pretty Scary Times.   The pandemic, combined with the downturn in the energy sector, has taken a chainsaw to Alberta’s already challenged financial situation. The deficit has exploded from a fairly pedestrian $8 billion (in Canadian terms) to close to $25 billion and counting. Debt is predicted to rise to close to $100 billion before the dust settles. It’s a Prodigiously Startling Total.   It’s ugly here, but […]


Aug
24

Whoops, This is Really Late

Apologies for the late blog everyone. I really have no excuse for my tardiness except that I have been a complete slacker lately. I suppose I could blame the Conservative Party and say I was waiting on the results of their leadership race, that isn’t actually entirely accurate. Well I guess it’s accurate enough for why the blog is out this morning rather than last night, but in all the reality, the CPC race wasn’t really a “stop the presses” type of event, more of a slowly developing car wreck.   So how has everyone’s […]


Aug
15

On a break!

Alright folks here we are. It’s mid-August and the blog is late. Why you may ask? Well, simple really. I was on vacation. Taking a break. Spending a few precious moments with family not thinking about what mask I’m supposed to wear, what the restaurant protocol is, do I have to run the lettuce through a liquid hydroxychloriquine rinse before I eat it, can I send my kids to school without all the attendant insanity of potential infection, contact tracing, lockdowns, online learning and quarantines. Never mind obsessing about when can I open the office […]


Aug
07

Buying Low

So here I was this week hoping for something to come along and inspire me for blog writing. Some seminal event that I could latch onto and use as inspiration for a mid-August barn-burner. I gotta say though, this type of hope appears to be increasingly misplaced as we, as a world and an energy economy, seem to be permanently stuck on a hamster wheel of inanity and self-loathing.   Don’t believe me? Consider these news topics and opinion pieces from the prior week.   Trump reinstates aluminum tariffs on Canada.   Dakota Access Pipeline […]


Jul
31

The Mask Edition

Ah the dog days of summer. It is truly the best time of year. We are currently in what we in Calgary call “the one week where the weather doesn’t 100% suck” and where we try to get all the summer activity we can in before the various indignities our weather regularly foists on us return to make our lives more of a living hell than lockdown and social isolation. Don’t believe me? Why it was only last week that the daily pattern of “Severe Thunderstorm Warning” followed by terrifying hailstorm and sheet lightning finally […]


Jul
24

These are my Demands!

I was taking a look at the calendar this morning and I realized that we are a week away from the halfway point of summer. How did that happen? Where did the time go? I mean think of it, by the time you read next week’s blog, we will be into August. I think these are officially the dog days of summer and all we can hope for is that the weather, at least here in Calgary, will warm up and we can maybe go outside for more that an hour before yet another severe […]


Jul
17

An Idle Pursuit

You ever wonder about how the human mind works and how much truly trivial junk is stored on those overloaded servers? It’s fascinating to me because every week I have to come up with a theme for this blog and the path usually goes something like this:   Monday – well, I have 5 days before I have to deliver the blog, that’s lots of time but I can’t start now because there may be some late-breaking news like a pipeline ruling or a government patronage appointment that I need to deal with.   Tuesday […]


Jul
10

Stampede?

Another week, another Pandemic caused moment of weirdness in our already disrupted 2020 lives. If you have been a reader of this column for any length of time you will know that I am, if nothing else, a creature of habit. Certainly when it comes to the themes I apply to my regular columns.   Don’t believe me? You think it’s just some weirdo random walk through the tortured synapses of a brain filled with too much trivia? Well, you’d be partially right. Or mostly right, but there is pattern. And part of that pattern […]


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 […]


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