Recent Posts

Morning Sankey 4/13/21

It seems pretty blatantly obvious that Putin is going to invade east Ukraine and join Russian rebel-held territory (see map in Sunday Sankey). He did it with Crimea. Not really a lot you can do, shall we ask Ukraine expert Hunter Biden for his take? There will be a domino effect, because the next question becomes what do you do if China invades Taiwan, given troop build-ups are as big in naval terms in the […]

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9:05 AM

Sunday Sankey 4/11/21

This week I am heading to Oklahoma to meet Devon CEO Rick Muncrief and then Houston to bid farewell to outgoing ConocoPhillips COO Matt Fox. Opposite ends of the spectrum for me – never met Rick, have hung out many times over the years with Mr. Fox. The lowlight in professional terms with Matt was doing the first marketing trip for COP in NYC after the dividend cut in 2016. The highlight was Matt making […]

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1:36 PM

Morning PSJeff 4/9/21

What’s Sisyphus’ least favorite band? The Rolling Stones We visited Japan for two weeks and did not see a single ninja. It was really impressive. “Officer, you can’t give me a ticket. I have to go run the marathon tomorrow.” Cop: “That’s not how you play the race card.” The Ketchup shortage this year was so predictable. Heinz sight is 2020. Happy Hour yesterday evening, we had a player whose firm had done a deep […]

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8:28 AM

SPAC Alert: The Life Cycle of Li-Cycle

Looking for SPAC names, we had highlighted Quantumscape as interesting from the point of view of long-term potential. However, like so many alternative energy plays, revenues are years away from scale commercialization (a pilot project for the $19bn market cap company is due by 2023), and the company recently issued 13m shares at $64 to finance its high-cost development work (the stock fell to $47 over the next two days). We had the impression “funding […]

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7:54 AM

Target: Zero Shares by 2035

Shell’s results are like a box of chocolates: you never know what you are going to get. This cashflow and earnings volatility, of course, is bad for the multiple. At the simplest EV/EBITDA level, Shell trades in the bottom decile of 40 major oil companies, between Southwestern and Ovintiv, a remarkable indictment of market uncertainty over earnings… strategy… management. Based on the company’s Q1 2021 earnings guidance, the stock just got more expensive, as the […]

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9:14 AM

Morning Sankey 4/6/21

BP announced the early achievement of its 35% debt target after the strength of Q1, and we think several unhedged oil companies will surprise with the strength of their profits after a $60/bbl quarter. We believe the overall market has lost track of just how profitable major oils are when oil prices are above $60/bbl, by which we mean the entire S&P500 upstream oil sector, with the major warning on levels of hedging exposure (see […]

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9:02 AM

Sunday Sankey 4/4/21

Greetings on Easter Sunday, The oil market got excited at the end of the week with the OPEC decision, basically because the “Saudi Put” remains in place, with the tapering of OPEC and particularly Saudi cuts extended through July. While surprised at the scale of the bullish reaction, given that the market had anticipated a rollover of cuts, it has been notable that oil prices have held the $60/bbl range pretty firmly with a bouncing […]

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12:26 PM

Morning Sankey 4/1/21

ExxonMobil is clawing its way to earnings respectability, after a brutal run of end-quarter 8k earnings guidance that were introduced as part of the company’s major push into more open and improved communication. The bad news is that the open communication policy introduction coincided with the nadir of ExxonMobil’s modern strategy and operational performance. The good news is that the company is grinding its way off the lows. There is a battle for board seats […]

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8:16 AM

The cliché-myth of the Roaring 2020s

History does not repeat, but it rhymes. Consideration of the Roaring 1920s makes it clear that the major technological, economic, and social advancements of the era were remarkable. There was an incredible convergence of technological development combined with an economic boom into an upsurge of social liberalism. Equally, the Roaring 1920s came after the great 1918 influenza (H1N1) avian-origin flu pandemic of 1918-1919. There is a synchronous argument that says the global economy recovering from […]

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9:10 AM

Morning Mood Swing 3/30/21

Get ready for a dump of April Fool’s Day OPEC jokes as the Organisation meets formally this week, culminating on Thursday April 1st. Rollover is seen as the most likely outcome, which would be for April, Saudi extending its market control, with recent volatility in oil prices – ie downside moves – seen as the key concern. It’s a never-ending wonder trying to forecast oil markets, and now to be in new era. Here, we […]

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8:26 AM

Sunday Sankey 3/28/21

Hello Happy Sunday, Calling oil has become very tricky in the short term. Never mind the wider market, where the steadily winning value-over-growth trade has found a new level and turned into a daily battleground. Recently growth has taken a stand, but we think it is doomed. Basically, every time you see 40x EBITDA+ multiples, it’s just a question of how long you can stay solvent vs market irrationality. There are maybe five stocks every […]

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1:20 PM

Morning Sankey 3/26/21

My wife and I were sitting in the living room enjoying a bottle of wine. Out of the blue she said, “I love you. ” Surprised, I asked, “Is that you or the wine talking?” “It’s me,” she said, “talking to the wine.” What do you call a rich Centipede? A Dollarpede A mushroom walks into a bar and the bartender welcomes him. He’s a fun guy. A Freudian slip is where you say one […]

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9:05 AM

Morning Sankey 3/25/21

As of writing about the Suez Canal yesterday, we were very early to show how the bulbous nose of the giant ship was buried in the shoreline. That went viral, along with the shape the ship drew on satnav maps before entering the canal. The former, the buried nose of massively heavy vessel wedged in the sand, seems to be a major problem, and there was feedback on my comment that “two dudes in hi-viz […]

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8:59 AM

Morning Suez 3/24/21

Covering global oil markets, you can be sailing along peacefully and from nowhere, a new major event leaves you scrambling. And so a vast container ship blocks the Suez canal. Around 10% of world oil trade and 8% of world LNG trade move through the canal. Quite how the captain managed to hit the side of the canal and wedge the ship remains an open question, but we do know that the Suez is a […]

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8:38 AM

Sunday Sankey 3/21/21

Morning! Iran and China. Mr. Biden has his hands full with Putin asking for a live debate further to Biden being asked “is Putin a killer?”, that caused Russia to immediately withdraw its US ambassador. Big week for global geopolitics. There is no question that China is becoming ever-more diplomatically, geopolitically, aggressive on a sustained rising basis, and buying oil from Iran through smuggling is clearly at the top of the defiant self-interest list. Official […]

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12:36 PM

Morning Sankey 3/19/21

What is the highest rank in the popcorn army? Kernel. Where do you find the Andes? At the end of your Armies. Few people know that Bruce Lee had a vegan brother, Brocco. Where do DJs do their research? Wiki-wiki Wikipedia. It’s Friday! Why did oil airdrop? Probably because it was walking on air. Spot “flat” Brent prices fell 7.5% yesterday. A trading house sent this comment: “Vitol offered Brent aggressively, driving Dated lower. Shell […]

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8:41 AM

Morning Sankey 3/18/21

Yesterday’s DOE data was brutal for US refiners and particularly PBF. We had been hoping for a much more bullish picture – we got increases in crude AND product inventories. Imports surged particularly into New York Harbor – hence the PBF reference – as European refiners, desperate for market, scramble to attack the surge in gasoline prices caused by the Texas Crisis. This should be a brutal month for refiners, as the quarter ends and […]

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8:49 AM

Morning Volkswagen

Volkswagen held its Power Day yesterday, an obvious head-to-head counter to Tesla’s Battery Day last September. The Tesla Battery Day will remain a memorable event for me, held outdoors under COVID conditions in California, the audience was made up of a crowd of Teslas that beeped their horns in appreciation at Elon Musk, above them on a rock concert-style stage. That was not an autonomous crowd, the beeping was operated by humans trapped inside the […]

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9:19 AM

Morning Sankey 3/12/21

Not sure about the Dad jokes this morning. But I will try a couple for sighs. I accidentally sprayed deodorant in my mouth this morning. Now I talk with this weird Axe scent. I got my friend a fridge for his birthday. I can’t wait to see his face light up when he opens it. How do you walk a dog with no legs? Hit him with the first pitch. We had our uber bull […]

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8:49 AM

Morning CVX vs XOM

The first slide considered at the Chevron virtual analyst meeting 2021 was pretty depressing. The company showed an adjusted ROCE of 2.9% and a plan to get this to 10% by 2025. On a day when Tesla had the biggest single move by any stock in history (20% up move added $140bn, or more than the entire value of TOTAL in one day) the investment merits of a major oil taking its ROCE from 3% […]

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9:17 AM

Morning Chevron 3/9/21

Chevron has its annual analyst meeting today, in virtual form.  The meeting starts at 10am ET. There’s no question that over the past year, Chevron enjoyed a major moment in its corporate history, when its market cap exceeded that of ExxonMobil. Of course, the circumstances were unfortunate, but the reality is that CVX surpassing XOM in value was a very long road and a major achievement for the company. In fact, since the 2001 tech […]

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8:21 AM

Sunday Sankey 3/7/21

This past week saw the worst market for US crude since modern records begin in 1990. We saw the lowest US domestic crude oil demand in thirty years or more. Who would have known it from the oil price action and oil market mood? Right when the scale of the Texas crisis hit, in terms of lost power, I was writing to you and on Bloomberg TV saying that this is a full-scale national crisis, […]

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12:19 PM

Morning Sankey 3/5/21

It’s Friday. What do you call an overweight kidney doctor who also predicts the weather? A meaty urologist. My thoughts on Mongolian poetry: It has its prose and its Khans. Why do astronauts use Linux? Because you can’t open Windows in space. Noted: Ovintiv results this morning, former rival big oil analyst, and buddy, Kate Minyard has been appointed to the board at the behest of activist Kimmeridge’s Mark Viviano. Viviano/Kimmeridge publish excellent “white papers” […]

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8:55 AM

Morning Sankey 3/3/21

NOTE KATHLEEN KELLEY OPEC EXPERT ON HAPPY HOUR THIS WEEK THURSDAY 5PM A year ago, March 6th 2020, I walked into the ExxonMobil analyst meeting day 2 – the deep dive sessions between senior company management and sellside analysts – and by way of introduction to the small group that had gathered drinking coffee before sitting down at the conference table, said what I had just heard from Vienna: “Russia are not going to cut.” […]

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8:51 AM

Morning Sankey 3/2/21

Straw poll direct to major investors yesterday “Views on XOM? I am loosening up for analyst meeting preview (meeting is tomorrow Wednesday 3rd March). Faber on CNBC breaking on new board members Ubben and Michael Angelakis, CEO of the investment company Atairos and a former senior Comcast; Faber says both supported by activist DE Shaw”. Summary of the results/thoughts out of 100 market players would be as follows: of 100 investors, responses 9/10 bullish XOM, […]

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8:58 AM

Sunday Sankey 2/28/21

One great business for sure is going to be lubricants for windmills. Guess who dominates the specialty oil lubes for windmills market? ExxonMobil. Guess who has their annual analyst day this week? ExxonMobil. March 3rd 9am Eastern, we get the latest iteration of The Big Unit’s story. Will they, like $EOG, get attracted like a moth to the flame of promising growth? We suspect ExxonMobil will, not that we have a problem with their Guyana […]

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12:01 PM

Sunday Sankey 2/21/21

Enjoyed making the slides today, take a look. Slide 1: John Hopkins Professor expects US herd immunity by April. Remember how quickly SARS disappeared? Fingers crossed. This past week we have highlighted QuantumScape $QS the solid state battery play, and did so again Thursday, and we “found the short” as they say. The heated email from a client arrived in response with 10 minutes. “It’s a joke.” He was referring to valuation. But in this […]

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10:39 AM

Morning QuantumScape 2/18/21

Field trip. Speaking to Devon yesterday after their results, I asked to visit the company in Oklahoma, which seemed somewhat ludicrous in the circumstances. There is an energy emergency in Texas and Oklahoma, in case you have been asleep all week. However a visit is okay to go, so if any clients wish to join me on a Oklahoma/Texas run in the week of March 15th, the plan will be to get through next week’s […]

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8:26 AM

Morning Sankey 2/17/21

The current energy crisis is much bigger than most people realize. This is a global crisis. The largest energy outage in US history. In the middle of a brutal winter, globally. Stay tuned, this crisis is just starting. An outage of this scale in Texas is world scale. The entire US and Atlantic Basin energy market is based on a core of Texas/US Gulf Coast. A lot of the debate currently is, as so often […]

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8:37 AM

Sunday LNG

Hi, We had legendary global gas expert Gordon Shearer on our Happy Hour – every Thursday at 5pm – this week. Writing up the notes for Friday sent me down a couple of rabbit holes, and so I put together a note with graphics on LNG, which is attached. Selected nuggets, there are more within: Natural gas as the key energy transition fuel is logical and imperative. Those that bucket natural gas, oil and coal […]

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11:54 AM

Morning Shell Out

Woke up this morning feeling like Groundhog Day, with another 2” of snow on the ground here in Brooklyn, this work from home certainly provides few surprises on the way to work. Which is a 3 yard commute. Little did I know years ago working at Wood Mackenzie and living on the other side of Charlotte Square, that my commute back then would not be the shortest of my career. The joke was it took […]

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8:52 AM

Morning Sankey 2/10/21

Noted: Chesapeake to emerge from bankruptcy and trade as CHK tomorrow. The #EFT (energy finance twitter) hordes are ready to Gamestop this one. The problem was always the debt/financial structure, not the assets. In fact, if you need to know one thing about this oil tape, it is that pretty much the best major oil company is the worst performing stock this year. In share price terms. We are speaking of course of TOTAL, or […]

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8:47 AM

Morning Sankey 2/9/21

It was invariable, in a market with one dimension since the March lows “Don’t fight the Fed, buy-buy-buy with the Fed; cost of capital is close to zero, equity value is close to infinite” that eventually the laggards would have to rip, and so we “energy transition” oil analysts find ourselves basking in the glory of best performing sector in the market year to date. This , which was a joke that was made on […]

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8:51 AM

Sunday Sankey 2/7/21

Snowing again here in Brooklyn Heights. One thing that is very striking in this week’s charts is the 6-10 Day weather forecast for North America. It is freeeeezing. Bluest map I can remember publishing, and we publish it just about every week in mid-winter and high summer. As noted our Happy Hour this past week was very bullish oil, basically the call is that oil just went up 15% in a month and is rising […]

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11:32 AM

Morning Sankey 2/5/21

Max bullish oil here, buy oil leverage. That was the Happy Hour call last evening. By November last year we were saying “All in on the equities” and we ended the year with six investment grade oil stocks and six speculative oil stocks with the call: “buy both groups.” Key specifics: 2022 oil futures a bargain at $52/bbl, Oxy for operational (Brent) and financial (massive debt) leverage. MEG in Canada. Watch out for natgas exposure […]

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8:34 AM

Morning Sankey 2/4/21

Shell results, meh. We argue that to out-perform, Big Euro Oils need major US fund managers buying at the margin. For ever, Euro oils have looked cheap relative to US. It never changes. See chart below, the same at the most extreme applies to Russian oils. Right now, Big US buyers are either not buying any oil, buying oil leverage, or buying ExxonMobil. The Supermajor Euro oils are not attractive, ex TOTAL. The track record […]

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9:11 AM

Morning Sankey 2/3/21

Pondering the results and performance of Marathon Petroleum and ConocoPhillips, led me to thinking to what is really working for clients. The answer below is solar, but onwards! The issue is that Marathon Petroleum is mildly outperforming the XLE energy ETF, ConocoPhillips under-performing, so what? This is a swing for the fences market. Note we do have speculative stock picks, and investment stock picks every week in the Sunday Sankey, and these are both on […]

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9:40 AM

XOM wins with $20bn loss

This was the best ExxonMobil earnings call for a decade, which is incredible to say given the company reported a $20bn loss, and its first ever annual loss. Our major frustration was not to be polled for a question, given it was worth asking about the shattered core principle of Exxon – return on capital employed (ROCE) – and the massive $19bn write-down that we finally got, more than a decade after the XTO takeover. […]

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5:34 PM

Morning Sankey 2/1/21

Chevron-ExxonMobil on the front page of the WSJ quoting Sankey Research. Quick note this morning. not because we don’t generally publish on a Monday after the Sunday Sankey, but because I just spent two hours down the silver mine. Quite interesting actually. Clients have been saying that metals & mining analysis is not very good, the dynamics are very similar to oil in terms of reserves, marginal cost of supply, price of demand etc, and […]

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9:14 AM

Sunday Sankey 1/31/21

The feeling is that oil price action this past week was very bullish given that it is traditionally-weak January and it held up vs US$ up and market down moves. Major clients are highlighting SPACs. We see the SPAC route as a major outlet to address the market imbalance between investment $ seeking renewable energy opportunities, and lack of renewable energy market cap plays. In today’s Sunday Sankey we replicate several slides published by Houston […]

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11:55 AM

Friday Sankey 1/29/21

Yep! It’s Friday! I called the RobinHood helpline about Gamestop and they said “Please Hold”. Got it. I want to put my life savings into the stock – its called Gamespot Total Landscaping right? The Biden team is monitoring the Gamestop situation and will let the American people know when it is time to buy a Legend of Zelda chess set in a dented box. AMC is issuing a ton of stock, but Gamestop is […]

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8:50 AM

Morning Sankey 1/28/21

Quote of the day: SINGAPORE, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Shares in small Australian nickel and cobalt explorer GME Resources GME.AX jumped as much as 53% on Thursday, apparently driven by the similarity of its stock ticker code to U.S. retail investor darling GameStop GME.N. Looking forward to Happy Hour tonight! This should be a good one. As always 5pm – please register interest. Just ping me an email to join, it is a great client-only […]

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8:45 AM

Evening Ark Big Ideas

“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what truth there may be in silence…”  Desiderata* ARK Invest has published its Big Ideas for 2021, and its important to take a look. We can also take a look back at the 2017 predictions. From an investment standpoint, and shareholder returns standpoint, the fund has been staggeringly successful. Obviously by extension so have the predictions, although current zero cost of capital market conditions are perfectly […]

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6:35 PM

Morning Egregious 1/26/21

Quote of the day: “Will the SEC step in to protect Wall St from aggressive Mom & Pop traders?” – Joe Weisenthal A client who was long a lot of Concho stock for many years, bitterly opposed the company selling itself. In the context of the decision by Concho management to sell at the bottom, completely against my client/Concho shareholder’s view of best shareholder interests, the payment by ConocoPhillips of around $10m to three top […]

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8:31 AM

Sunday Sankey 1/24/21

“Does anybody in Washington care about the deficit? I mean 25% of all dollars ever printed were printed in 2020, and the total stimulus at $5trn, so far, exceeds the GDP of Germany… and Biden plans more…” I asked Frank Kelly, head of government affairs at DB, as we sat in Great Falls, just outside Washington DC, in a gastropub. We had driven past the preposterous mansions that line the road of this former farming […]

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12:33 PM

Morning Methane Limits

DC chat today, it’s Friday! Travelling to Atlanta via Washington and Durham today with son Max. I accidentally sprayed my son’s deodorant into my mouth this morning. Now when I talk I have this weird Axe scent. If you lose one of your senses, your other senses are heightened. That’s why people with no sense of humour have a heightened sense of self-importance. I told my wife I was making a bicycle out of spaghetti. […]

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7:12 AM

Morning Acronyms

One of the great recent charts has been the index performance of unprofitable stocks shown below. It is notable that this index has basically doubled since the last quarterly reporting season. We expect the current reporting season to underline how insane valuations have become across non-profitable sections of the market. Furthermore, quarterly results will provide full year 2020 results and some kind of outlook for 2021. Equally, for the oils, what might be good results […]

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8:40 AM

Morning $TAN

Your correspondent listened to a loooong podcast yesterday hosting Abigail Hopper, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. Hopper was previously head of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM, big for offshore wind development, and of course offshore drilling). Before that, she was director of the Maryland Energy Administration and an adviser to former Gov. Martin O’Malley. As I learned at quite some expense of time, she was once a […]

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9:24 AM

Morning CAD 1/19/21

A scoop by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) over the long weekend regarding the Biden Administration’s plan to rescind the Keystone XL pipeline permit got everyone excited… except me, who groaned. The issue is symptomatic of the worst of US energy policy. New pipelines are environmentally friendly. They serve to replace old pipelines and/or train transport that is less efficient and environmentally damaging. While opposing specific pipelines has become the heroic battle of the environmentalist, […]

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9:00 AM

Sunday Sankey 1/17/21

Trying to get up this morning, I was pondering whether the US military could split and part go renegade. However we continue to believe the US constitution will prevail. Rather a negative start to the day, but I moved on to put together the Sunday Sankey for you, with energy, be it alternative, or regular oil and gas, starting the year very well. We continue to be obsessive about the US$ impact on oil prices, […]

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12:06 PM
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