Crude Observations

My Trip to Sicily

Well good morning everyone. I hope that August is treating you well. This is going to be the first of two abbreviated blogs because I am currently on summer vacation with my family and they are scowling at me as I write.


Some of you will no doubt be wondering why you are receiving not only an abbreviated blog, but also a tardy one. Laziness is most likely your first reaction and in that you would be partially correct. I say partially because one of the reasons it’s late is that I recently returned from a very interesting and thought provoking conference.


I am of course referring to the Google Climate Change Conference recently held in Sicily, that I was fortunate enough to secure an invitation to from my good friend and noted environmentalist Katy Perry.


Anyway, I don’t want to bore you with too many gory details or name drop too much, let’s just say that I certainly enjoyed the company of Harry and Barry, partying with David Geffen, arm-wrestling with Leo and just generally hobnobbing with so many Climate Change warriors that are so committed to the cause that they lined up the private jets three deep to accommodate them all.


What I can do is share some of the agenda items that were covered in plenary and breakout sessions over the course of the three days I was in attendance (was it only three?). That is, those sessions I managed to attend or not sleep through when I wasn’t feasting on gourmet Sicilian foods, quaffing the very finest Sicilian wines, riding a moped through the Sicilian countryside or climbing Mount Etna.


These sessions were quite interesting that is for sure and they give great insight into what such very important people think of the world around them, when they are thinking at all.


Session 1A – Two kids is all you need


This highly entertaining session was hosted and moderated by none other than Prince Harry. The point here is that by limiting oneself to no more than two children, you can help minimize the carbon footprint of your family since as we all know, one of the leading causes of carbon pollution is the proliferation of privileged, entitled, near or actual royalty. While there was some robust discussion about declining birthrates in western countries and how population replacement matters for supporting social programs and the tax base, given how rich everyone in the room was, it was deemed a non starter.


Session 2B – It’s not all about money


Ha – let’s face it, with this crew it is totally all about money, honey and lots of it. There was a large crowd at the beginning of this session, which was to be presented by the great Barry Diller, founder of InterActive Corp and Chairman of Expedia except he had to cancel at the last minute due to his reservation being lost (hello Expedia!) so the session lost a bit of luster. At any rate, the point of the session was for all these rich people to explain to each other that their idle mindlessness and fake environmentalism isn’t brought about by their entitled sense of ennui but actually arises out of a deep-seated love of planet and mankind.


Session 3A – Climate change and surgical enhancement – a working group


The lively session hosted by Katy Perry analyzed the impact of Botox, implants, nips and tucks on climate and what, if any, options existed for carbon capture and storage in the ever-expanding implant market. It was generally agreed that climate could mind its own business on this front.


Plenary Session – How to get the poors to do the right thing


This unfortunately titled session was one of the highlights of the conference as Leonardo DiCaprio and Orlando Bloom together led a lively discussion about how if celebrities just all tried a little bit harder they would be able to make a difference in poor people’s lives and convince those very same poor people that they should indeed be thankful for the opportunity to sacrifice their opportunities for a better life if it means reducing their measly annual carbon footprints to the exhaust fumes of Lamboghini. After all, said Leo, if I can get by with just one super aycht borrowed from my Saudi Sheik friend, surely those impoverished people can continue to live without modern conveniences like, for example, electricity and sanitation.


Sometime on Day 2, everyone got together for some virtue-signalling yoga, where everyone gathered in a circle and the Grand Yogi Justin Trudeau (where did he come from?) led the group through a series of poses and contortions that seemed like Yoga but really weren’t.


Session 10A – Offset credits for private jets


With so many PJs around Sicily while this confab was happening, this seemed like a perfect session where the users of these socially irresponsible modes of transit would flock in to salve their climate wounds by finding out exactly what they should do to mitigate the damage they may have caused by flying fully all the way around the world to discuss the reckless acceleration of carbon emissions. Attendance? None. Nada. Zilch.


Session 11 – What about Africa?


Yes, what about Africa? What happens when the countries and populations of Africa, where dozens of coal plants are currently being built, start to emerge from decades of sub-par electrification and make their desires to be part of a global middle class known? After China and India, Africa is the next frontier in fossil fuel consumption growth.


Session 13 – Fossil Fuels are Bad. Stinky Oil


Well, you knew it was coming, didn’t you? This session set about bashing any and all fossil fuels, with little regard to where they came from. There was a brief discussion about Canadian oil sands, but it got side tracked when Leo started to tell everyone about the climate emergency he encountered while filming The Revenant in Alberta. Ultimately the only thing bad about fossil fuels in this session is the fact that they were responsible for producing the jet fuel and bunker fuel that powered the jets and yachts to deliver this grouping to the conference.


Closing Session – Is climate change racist?


No, it wasn’t really the closing session. It was a question I asked the organizers that they had no answer to. The answer of course is no. But the effects of climate change appear to me to disproportionately affect other, poorer races. Perhaps some of these big brains could try to noodle on that reality for a while, after the evening cocktails of course, and maybe come up with or, better yet, just pay for, some mitigation strategies.


Alright, alright. I think I’ve made my point. These conferences are the height of hubris and hypocrisy. The last thing any of us need are these gadflys and wannabe world changers getting together to apply their monstrous intellects to something that quite frankly I don’t think they even care that deeply about. The thought of the likes of Katy Perry or Orlando Bloom or Leo DiCrappio attending an all-expenses paid climate conference in an exclusive tourist locale is laughable if it wasn’t so sad.


Climate change is a serious problem. This session strikes me as a somewhat less than serious approach to it. Google has the money. Be different.

Oh yeah, we are getting an arena. Is it built yet?


Prices as at August 2, 2019

  • Oil prices – WTF?
    • Storage posted a decrease week over week
    • Production was down
    • The rig count in the US was down and Canada was up
    • Prices fell then rallied. Then cratered on Trump tariffs. Makes perfect sense.
    • Natural gas storage was up and remains higher than this point last year
  • WTI Crude: $55.21 ($56.16)
  • Western Canada Select: $43.09 ($41.26)
  • AECO Spot : $1.32 ($1,05)
  • NYMEX Gas: $2.154 ($2.169)
  • US/Canadian Dollar: $0.7565 ($0.7605)



  • As at July 26, 2019, US crude oil supplies were at 436.5 million barrels, a decrease of 8.5 million barrels from the previous week and 27.8 million barrels above last year.
    • The number of days oil supply in storage is 25.5 compared to 23.5 last year at this time.
    • Production was down for the week at 12.200 million barrels per day – fully recovered from GOM storms. Production last year at the same time was 11.300 million barrels per day.
    • Imports fell to 6.663 million barrels from 7.028 million barrels per day compared to 7.749 million barrels per day last year.
    • Exports from the US fell to 2.574 million barrels per day from 3.292 million barrels per day last week compared to 1.310 million barrels per day a year ago
    • Canadian exports to the US were 3.725 million barrels a day
    • Refinery inputs fell during the during the week to 16.991 million barrels per day
  • As at July 26, 2019, US natural gas in storage was 2.634 billion cubic feet (Bcf), which is about 4% lower than the 5-year average and about 15% higher than last year’s level, following an implied net injection of 65 Bcf during the report week
    • Overall U.S. natural gas consumption rose by 1% during the report week
    • Production for the week was up 1% week over week due to storms. Imports from Canada were down 1% from the week before. Exports to Mexico were up 1%
    • LNG exports totaled 36 Bcf
  • As of July 26, 2019, the Canadian rig count was up 10 at 137 (AB – 86; BC – 9; SK – 36; MB – 3; Other – 3). Rig count for the same period last year was 194.
  • US Onshore Oil rig count at August 2, 2019 is at 770, down 6 from the week prior.
    • Peak rig count was October 10, 2014 at 1,609
  • Natural gas rigs drilling in the United States was up 2 at 171.
    • 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 1 to 22.
    • Offshore peak rig count at January 1, 2015 was 55

US split of Oil vs Gas rigs is 80%/20%, in Canada the split is 67%/33%


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