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Crude Observations

Nov
16

Jumpin’ Jack Flash

Well it sure has been a tough couple of months for those of us in the oil business as prices have taken it on the chin and it seems even kindly old grammas that you help across the street are swatting at us with their umbrellas.   I know I talked about this last week, but the turnaround has been so rapid, that it is really hard to talk about much else. That said, I am glad to see that markets have stabilized, for now, and OPEC and Russia seem to be ready to cut […]


Nov
09

Five Ring Circus

As some of you are reading this the price of oil has dropped below $26 a barrel which as we all know is the low it reached in February 2016.  This is a remarkable fall from grace for a commodity that just a few short weeks ago was being pegged for a healthy run at $100 a barrel.   What? I’m wrong? It’s not below $26? What gives? Well it must be below $40. What with all the panic selling happening. Honestly, I’m still shocked but $40 has to be the floor right?   Still […]


Nov
02

So,that’s it then?

Well you heard it here first, the Canadian oilpatch is done. That’s what I hear in the media anyway. Shut off the lights and go home folks, nothing to see here. Please move along. Investing in Canada, if it was ever a good thing is now a guaranteed dud. Bre-X after the helicopter thing. An income trust on November 2, 2006. A tech stock after posting record earnings that beat estimates, but not by enough.   Yup, it is indeed hard times here in the oilpatch. Just ask Suncor, Cenovus, Encana, Crescent Point. Literally bleeding […]


Oct
26

Trick or Treat

So folks, here we are. A mere five sleeps away from my second favourite holiday of the year – Halloween. What? It’s not a holiday? That can’t be right. We have a bank holiday, a family day, a May long weekend holiday – why can’t we have a Halloween holiday? I mean it’s not like anything gets done on Halloween. It’s that weird day of the year where you sit at your desk eating black & orange foil wrapped chocolates, avoiding the black licorice and then, when you go for your lunchtime walk, you don’t […]


Oct
19

Doctor’s Orders

Well it’s been quite the week hasn’t it? Exhausting is one word that comes to mind. Overwhelming is another. Actually scratch that. It’s been literally months of this energy and pipeline roller-coaster, such that I feel sometimes I am close to losing my mind.   Speaking of which, I was recently doing a little investigative work for a client who was very curious about the “personalities behind the stories” as he believes that if you truly understand what motivates someone you can make investment profits by exploiting that. My own personal opinion, careful what you […]


Oct
13

Stop him, his consciousness may stream

One of the nice things about Thanksgiving, which I failed to mention last week is the copious amount of turkey and potatoes and gravy and stuffing you get to eat, which of course is one of the bad things about it too. Combine this overindulgence of tryptophan with, say, a bit too much bourbon and wine and then stir in the beginnings of a “man-cold” and you have a recipe for the crazy weird dreams I have been having.   And after having lived through the last few months of project approvals and delays, record […]


Oct
05

Can(nabis)adian Thanksgiving

For those of you who pay attention to these things, this coming weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving. If you’re busy, and I’m betting quite a few of you are, you’re welcome for the reminder. If you’re Canadian, yes Monday is a stat.   My American friends will note of course that Canadian Thanksgiving is earlier than American Thanksgiving. The simple reason for this is that we like to have it before the first snow of the season wrecks all of the beautiful fall foliage and the temperature is still warm. I remember growing up in Quebec […]


Sep
29

An Early Q3 Report Card – Not Pretty

Well, another three months have gone by and it seems that all of the progress we made in the second quarter has been mercilessly unwound by forces both within and outside of our control.   And the result is that my fearless forecast of 2018 appears to have completely upended and sent on its merry way as pipelines got under way and then were stopped, stopped pipelines were suddenly back underway and once left for dead pipelines (no, not Energy East) appear to have been resurrected and suddenly have a schedule.   Production growth continues […]


Sep
21

Definitions…

I don’t know about you guys, but I find the energy sector to be a really complicated industry. It’s multi-faceted and there are so many aspects to it. There is an up/mid/downstream, there’s exploration, production, transportation and retail. There are multiple products, raw and refined, petrochemicals, onshore, offshore, conventional and unconventional, shale, sands, rules, regulations, environmental considerations, consultations, land claims, farm-ins, joint ventures, cartels, multinationals, IOC, seven sisters, seven dwarves… It’s never-ending and enough to make your head spin.   And then there’s the terminology – rathole, annulus, toolpush, birdbath, mud, dog collar, cat walk, […]


Sep
15

That stuff again?

I don’t know about you, but every once in a while I wake up in a cold sweat with a sense of impending doom. I’m sure this is a fairly common occurrence and the product of an over-active mind and not some manifestation of my advancing years or chicken wing habit.   But what caused this panic? Was it the planned reckless use of the Notwithstanding Clause by Doug Ford in his no-holds barred efforts to show Toronto City Council that he’s the new sheriff in town? Was it the ongoing NAFTA renegotiation or the […]


Sep
07

Are you ready for some football?

That’s right, the NFL is back and for the next 5 months I get to stay up late and watch PVR’d football games while the rest of my family snores away, oblivious to my ridiculous addiction which is so bad that last year I watched a Cleveland game. Why am I bringing up football in an energy focused blog? Well first of all, because I’m super-excited for football, always have been and always will be. Secondly (and thematically) because like all true fans, I have been consuming a never ending barrage of top 10 lists […]


Aug
31

Take a deep breath. Put down the sharp things.

Usually the Friday before Labour Day is a quiet time. A time for reflection before it gets super busy in the fall. An opportunity to calmly lay out a reasoned list of things to watch for over the next few months – issues that need a critical eye, undercurrents that may not be entirely evident but could impact the energy space, emergent trends requiring analysis or upcoming events that will be of major significance.   This time frame works because it is after all the last long weekend of summer, before school gets under way […]


Aug
25

A Canadian Con…

So I was away this past week – squeezed in one last summer trip, to my hometown of Montreal. A short trip, enough time to turn off the brain, gobble some smoked meat, visit friends and family and get caught in what appears to be the largest series of construction projects in Canadian history (yes, I know, equalization).   But I’m home now and before cleaning my skeleton of a blog, I decided to check the news feed to see if anything interesting happened while I was away since I had elected not to look […]


Aug
17

Well that didn’t go well

Remember last week when I said my blog was going to be unpopular? Well I was right. I did indeed receive some feedback of the opposite of positive variety. Oh well, it happens, right? I mean not everyone agrees about everything.   For those of you who don’t recall or didn’t read it because you thought it was going to be one of my damn poems again, the gist of it was as follows:   No, the Saudi dispute is not evidence that the Energy East pipeline project needs to be revised. No, it is […]


Aug
10

Enough Windmill Tilting

So here I sit reading all the blather about Canada’s escalating dispute with Saudi Arabia, which actually is more like Saudi Arabia’s dispute with itself or Saudi Arabia acting like a spoiled and petulant child because someone called them on being stuck in the middle-ages, mean-spirited and disrespectful of human rights.


Aug
04

Short Verses

So here we are. Week 3 of me trying to be brief and let’s be truthful with each other. It’s not actually going that well. It’s hard. I know it, you know it, my family knows it. I can’t help it. I’m naturally long-winded. After all, why do something in 2 words when you can more easily do it in 167?


Jul
27

Fairy Tale Time

Since I’m continuing on my vacation and shorter blog theme from last week, I am going to keep this week light and frivolous. Fortunately I am able to spend a few days at home before heading out on a family road trip which means what? Well if you are in my house it means a little tidy up activity (remember this is a blog – not all things presented occur as described – artistic license).   At any rate, I decided a fun thing to do would be to clean up a bookshelf or two. […]


Jul
21

WARNING – Summer Dullness!

Seeing as it’s July and summer and everyone I know is on or has been on vacation, I have made a summer resolution. And that resolution is, for the time being at least, to cut down on the excess verbiage in these weekly missives.  That’s right, I am going to try and make them shorter. I will park the flowery prose I typically use and instead get right down to business.   That is indeed my covenant with my readers. Brevity. Succinctness. Economy in description. To the point punchiness. Pithy yet brief. You get the […]


Jul
13

Resetting the Scene

So enough with all the patriotism and all that jazz. We’ve spent the past several weeks with lists and itemized reasons why Canada is such an awesome place even though no one wants to invest here. We’ve enumerated the many reasons why Donald Trump is risking global prosperity in his ridiculous attempts to restore balance to only one side of the trade equation. We’ve lamented trade wars, we’ve bragged about Canada’s personality, we’ve raged at the injustice of a lack of pipelines.   We’ve done all that, but do you know the one thing we […]


Jul
06

Day of Reckoning…

Can you believe another quarter has come and gone? I mean seriously that was fast. It felt much more like a short 90 days. And it feels like the world has changed in those 12 weeks since I last looked at my forecast. So much happens in three months that it’s hard to stay on top of things. I mean yeah, I’m pretty sure I’ve been glued to Twitter for at least the last 2,160 hours which of course has helped me keep up with the news.


Jun
29

Happy Tariff Day, eh?

Alright, this week represents yet another opportunity to celebrate a birthday, although this time it is Canada’s birthday (really darling, you don’t look a day over 151). Accordingly, in true patriotic fashion and fully of the mind to exploit the tariff driven nationalist fervour (take that American yogurt!) that we seem to be experiencing, I am going to lazily reduce, reuse and recycle a number of columns written on previous Canada Days into one truly magnificent ode to our wonderful and quirky country.


Jun
22

The Dreaded Birthday List

One of the many benefits of doing a blog for so long is that you develop annual traditions such as my Sweet 16 challenge, the annual fearless forecast and quarterly review as well as this week’s ode to laziness, the ubiquitous birthday list! That’s right, each year I throw together a lazy list of energy reflections. This year there are 53 of them because I am turning 53. Holy free-holy Batman! That’s a lot of years. Last year I celebrated that I had been able to get my weight down to less than 4 times […]


Jun
15

1, 2, 3, 4 I declare a tariff war

It’s been an interesting and momentous week hasn’t it? Where to start? G7 debacle? North Korea? OPEC? I mean there is so much going on, only some of which seem to affect us as Canadians, but of course that is hopelessly naïve since it all impacts us in some way, especially as to how we interact with the United States. Which of course means that this is totally about that surreal G7 meeting, the fallout and trade. OPEC can wait until next week.


Jun
08

That’s gonna need a lot of pipe

OK folks, I think it’s about time we had an honest discussion about widening price differentials against WTI, lack of rail capacity for shipping and the spectre of trucking oil to refineries because of massive pipeline constraints. We also need to have a very serious conversation about the over-production of gas in a trapped market which is causing prices per Mcf to crater and prompting widespread shut-ins of producing wells.


Jun
01

Hate to Say I Told You So…

But … I told you so. Seriously, like at least 4 times in the past four weeks. I even wagered money on it. And I never gamble. Anyway, in the true spirit of all “I told you so’ers” I fully intend to gloat and bask in my glory. Ahh, that feels great. What did I tell you? That the Federal government would buy Kinder Morgan Canada’s TransMountain Pipeline and related assets in order to get the project moving forward.   Admittedly, I didn’t get all the details bang on. I neglected to account for the […]


May
25

Hail Mary Time!

So here we are. Less than a week to go. The final word. The last hurrah. The big close. Bottom of the ninth, two out, nobody on. Fourth and 18 from the 37, one second on the clock. Hail Mary time. The final countdown. Game 7 – overtime. The whole enchilada. Time to get ‘er done. All or nothing. Go for broke. Last shot. The clock is about to strike midnight. The beams are about to cross. Henderson! The ball is tipped – it’s one shining moment! The last kick at the cat. Death or […]


May
18

Royal Wedding Dream Sequence

That’s right folks, there is a Royal Wedding this weekend and it is time for celebration. Thus, as dutiful servants of the Crown, most of us Canucks will be donning our fascinators and heading to the nearest Hose & Hound or Parrot & Duke or Rat & Spleen British-themed neighbourhood pub to watch the nuptials of young bonny Prince Harry and the American pretender Meghan Markle. On top of that, it’s also Victoria Day weekend, the celebration of the birth of Queen Victoria. Or as we call it here – May Long.


May
11

Enough with these Canada problems

It’s been a big week in the energy sector, hasn’t it? What with Donald Trump bailing out of the UN/Iran nuclear agreement, supply squeezes and other volatility, it would appear that my tongue-in-cheek forecast of $300 oil is well on its way, right? And, with all the exciting developments on the Canadian pipeline front this past week, well it seems like…. Oh wait, there were no developments on the Canadian pipeline front. Sorry. And $300 oil? Not a real thing. But, hey, it’s important to make it all about us, right?


May
04

May the Fourth Be With You

The force is strong in this week’s blog. So, Someone is forecasting $300 oil. Aside from how ridiculous and reckless that is, let me first say, it comes from a pretty successful hedge fund investor and is backed by some thoughtful analysis. And, aside from being barking mad, the point of the call is that without significant investment in new fields and projects, there is a very real possibility that rising demand and  decline rates crush OPEC spare capacity and the fantasy of tight oil as a swing producer and we find ourselves in the […]


Apr
27

It’s Drafty in Here

As a big National Football League fan, I have to say that this time of year is very exciting to me with the schedule coming out last week and this week getting all wrapped up in the draft, contemplating how badly some of the teams with the top draft picks will screw up this year, which promising young quarterback will be ruined by the New York Jets, the usual.   One of the most fun things to do is to read and obsess about the 367 mock drafts that get prepared because there is nothing […]


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