Recent Posts

Sunday Sankey 7/25/21

Greetings, It is all about the presentation this week; please click on the attached file for a look at what is in store for the week ahead – earnings; OPEC chat; what to buy when US natgas prices hit $4/mmbtu, which they did this past week; factor performance disconnection; and our only solution since we wrote The Renaissance Thesis of US E&P in 2017, namely hard cash return to shareholders. These oils have to bribe […]

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12:39 PM

Friday Sankey 7/23/21

The “Why we prefer buybacks” note yesterday got a lot of feedback. There was some comment that it had no conclusion, to which my response was 1) it should have been titled Part 1 because this will be a continued theme for us through earnings and beyond because 2) my old line “you don’t buy cheap stocks and sell expensive ones, you buy good management” is the key. The chart on Sankey Stars would indicate […]

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9:12 AM

Why we favour oil buybacks (at this time)

Thesis: there is little differentiation in the market between the merits of individual big oils; factor investing (ie thematic baskets) has rewarded the most levered oil companies, given the surge in oil prices from historic lows. There is a major opportunity with an immediate catalyst of Q2 2021 results for differentiation among oils in terms of the strength of their earnings at $70/bbl Brent (with weak refining). There are two types of leverage, operational and […]

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10:06 AM

Market to Government: “FEED ME SEYMOUR”

In the valuation Little Shop of Horrors environment we live, the monstrous plant of the market needs the government to feed it constantly. It was pointed out yesterday with me in conversation on this government-driven environment, that the recent rollover in value vs growth indexes occurred right when The Parliamentarian – the voice of the Senate – declared a claim by Chuck Schumer that an obscure procedure to allow a second reconciliation to pass an […]

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9:06 AM

Viernes Sankey 7/9/21

It was the optimum Happy Hour last night, with two expert witnesses, Kathleen Kelley and Jan Stuart, both highly tenured oil market experts, and a mix of long-only and long-short investors, mutual fund and hedge fund. We were also spread across the globe from Amsterdam to Mexico, with Kathleen struggling in a New York flash flood situation that resulted in a viral video of a lady wading into waist deep water to the NYC Subway. […]

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12:03 PM

Manana Sankey 7/6/21

Reading back on my Sunday note, I did a horrible job of highlighting the link to the “Oils share of the S&P500 earnings vs oil’s share of the S&P500” presentation that was attached. One key highlight was to buy Pioneer and EOG and to be negative on Oxy. The non-consensus call was bullish Apache. We were also cautious refiners. Here is the note which is a short presentation of all the charts. This is a […]

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9:57 AM

Sunday Sankey 7/4/21

Happy July 4th Here’s to democracy and freedom. Usually, I make some dumb joke about being British and not celebrating any Independence on July 4th, but this weekend marks the first anniversary of Sankey Research. My first note, quoting Public Enemy as a statement on freedom of speech, was sent out the Friday of July 4th weekend 2020, and for long as it may continue, the anniversary of Sankey Research will be Independence Day weekend. […]

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12:30 PM

Morning Sankey 7/1/21

 Having heartily joked that I have been snowed under all week… with soccer… yesterday was absolutely jammed with newsflow, and this morning we got an answer on our question of whether Saudi wants $80/bbl+ oil. The OPEC meeting story seems to be no July  increase, with the market having lowered expectations to 500kb/d. Great call from Goldman on $80/bbl, which we always agreed with as regards demand. Once again yesterday in the US DOE data […]

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12:04 PM

Morning Sankey 6/30/21

ConocoPhillips is hosting a market update call today at 10am ET, and the press release reads great. I hate to repeat a press release, but this one is so pretty, and concise, it bears highlighting. Increasing anticipated Concho transaction-related synergies and savings to $1 billion annually; Reducing 2021 capital expenditures and adjusted operating cost guidance by $200 million and $100 million, respectively, due to stronger-than-projected business execution; Increasing 2021 planned share repurchases by $1 billion, […]

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9:54 AM

Souki Sankey 6/25/21

Overview: we hosted Tellurian Chairman Charif Souki on Happy Hour. Key conclusion: we are, like Souki, past and future mega-bulls on long-term LNG demand and US LNG supply. As such, Tellurian provides an excellent high-risk/return play on the mega-theme. However there are major risks regarding contracts (2 are signed, 5 are needed), project capital cost and execution (the claimed $550/tonne of gasification capacity cost needs to be sealed), and financing/level of shareholder dilution. Compared to […]

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1:19 PM

Morning Sankey 6/24/21

Tonight 5pm June 24th on Happy Hour we have Charif Souki, Chairman and co-founder of Tellurian, the integrated Haynesville gas-to Driftwood LNG export project play. Should be a great chat! Register here Charif Souki on Sankey Happy Hour Next week, on Thursday July 1st, please attend the Sankey Research 1st anniversary party in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Email me for details on this informal get-together in one of the great destinations in NYC. Guess who is talking […]

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10:15 AM

Morning Sankey 6/23/21

Tomorrow June 24th on Happy Hour we have Charif Souki, Chairman and co-founder of Tellurian, the integrated Haynesville gas-to Driftwood LNG export project play. Should be a great chat! Souki is one of the select legendary executives to be featured in The Frackers, an entertaining book about the key characters in the US unconventional revolution.  Register here Charif Souki on Sankey Happy Hour Next week, on July 1st, please attend the Sankey Research 1st anniversary […]

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9:03 AM

Friday Sankey 6/18/21

Fun fact: Australia’s biggest export is boomerangs. It’s also their biggest import. What actor could never play Quasimodo? Humpfree Bogart Doctor: Your body ran out of magnesium. Me: 0mg. The urge to sing The Lion Sleeps Tonight is just a whim away. A client writes: Paul! One day doesn’t make a market, but your next letter can’t come soon enough. Is the run in oil done? Dear clients, Key bear triggers were twofold yesterday. First, […]

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8:42 AM

Morning Sankey 6/15/21

At the last in-person Shell analyst meeting at the NYSE, I raced the head of upstream in a life-sized side-by-side Pennzoil NASCAR simulator and then moved on to talk to CEO Ben van Buerden. One key message: sell the Permian. My argument was that Shell would never be recognized as a Permian player, would never get credit, even if they out-performed the industry, and valuations were riding high. Shell should be a mega-project player in […]

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8:46 AM

Sunday Sankey 6/13/21

The note today is delayed by England vs Croatia, thankfully the currently ongoing Austria vs North Macedonia game is not imperative for me to watch.  There are some great slides in today’s presentation. For example on how solar projects do not deliver their IRR, on worrying Indian oil demand, on the global petchem balance by company, and our new mega-theme, of new young CEOs following through on our “Renaissance” theme of US E&Ps. This new […]

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2:22 PM

Morning Sankey 6/10/21

Well, I made it to and from Texas Tuesday/Wednesday, getting back yesterday evening, which was a Board speech and dinner at a famous country club. But the flights were pretty hellish, be warned. My outbound was cancelled, which bounced me to economy, Those tiny first class cabins are 4x over-booked. Newark TSA was typically crammed, it turns out my Global Entry is expired, putting me in the line of people wearing lace-up boots and multiple […]

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9:05 AM

Friday Sankey 6/4/21

I’ve just had my vaccine, but they administered it in my leg. My Pfizer hurting. I got my first shot. I’ll get my second one as soon as I get the bartender’s attention. Why do gay people have parades in June? Because Pride comes before the Fall. What do you call an Englishman at the Euro 2021 soccer final? Referee. Surgeon: “Don’t be nervous Jeff, you should be able to handle this operation easily.” Patient: […]

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8:57 AM

Memorial Monday Sankey 5/31/21

OIL RISK HIGH. We have an OPEC meeting tomorrow, and the word is that Iran is pumping into storage on anticipation of successful negotiations with the Biden administration, which, for reasons I do not fully understand, is very keen to make a nuclear deal. This will allow Iran back into global oil markets. We understand that OPEC is warning Iran not to flood the market, and Iran is saying “we are going to flood the […]

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1:34 PM

Evening XOM – hug a tree

“This is the biggest shareholder vote in ExxonMobil’s history”, says the FT, quoting Paul Sankey. And so it came to pass that the Engine #1 “tree-huggers” got their two – possibly three – board seats; as of today, in the true style of recent dramatic US elections, the final result remains unknown. What is the problem in the digital age with fast voting results? Maybe if all shareholders could vote quickly, digitally, XOM would have […]

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10:11 PM

Morning Sankey 5/26/21

Of course one of the most egregious aspects of Oxy’s deal for Anadarko was that a shareholder vote was deliberately avoided by CEO Vicki Hollub. This doubly bad because a preferred $10bn deal with Warren Buffett was the route taken to get a deal cash-rich enough to avoid a shareholder vote. Activist Carl Icahn took revenge by issuing warrants to all shareholders – but not to preferred Buffett – and effectively capped the Oxy share […]

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9:06 AM

Sunday Sankey 5/23/21

Watching Iran, but 1mb/d of oil exports are already in the market. Huge week ahead for ExxonMobil, with the Shareholder Meeting and board vote on Wednesday this week. We wrote about it on Thursday, see the note on www.sankeyresearch.com or emailed. Noted that Halliburton shareholders rejected the company’s pay proposal last week, which is encouraging. The pay of oil executives relative to shareholder returns has been an abomination for years. Executives should try a few […]

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12:19 PM

Morning Woods & Trees 5/20/21

Happy hour tonight 5pm ET with Uzi Yemin, CEO Delek USA, refining & marketing. Should be great. Journalists are hassling me on the subject of the ExxonMobil shareholder vote, which is next Wednesday. They tell me that the Engine #1 board seat candidates are likely to have some success, with Greg Goff seen as very likely to get on to board. Chairman and CEO likely to be split in due course. Put it this way, […]

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9:04 AM

Sunday Sankey 5/16/21

Good day, The week ended with the guided announcement from Marathon Petroleum that its deal with Seven & i to sell the massive Speedway gasoline retail network had closed for $21bn cash, and upside guidance from Marathon Petroleum on an imminent Dutch Auction for $4bn of stock, within a $10bn open buyback authorization. It was uncertain how much debt would be paid down, but that was announced light at $2.5bn. MPLX, the 63% MPC-owned MLP, […]

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12:59 PM

Friday Sankey 5/14/21

“Darling I think the new clothes drier is shrinking my clothes.” “No honey, that is caused by the fridge.” On the other side: “Does this outfit make me look fat?” “No your fat makes you look fat.” Don’t spell part backwards. It’s a trap. Our tortoise was falling in love, but now he’s only falling apart. There’s nothing I can do, it’s a turtle eclipse of the heart. Yesterday it felt like the market confirmed […]

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8:28 AM

Morning Sankey 5/12/21

*INVITATION * Today * 10am ET * – Happy Coffee with Li-Cycle CEO Ajay Kochhar. Ajay is extremely strong on all things to do with his business, of re-cycling lithium-ion batteries. By extension, he is extremely strong on batteries, EVs, and particularly Li-Ion factories. He is absolutely at ease with battery market dynamics. Join a conversation with Sankey + a few clients. Yesterday the company announced an agreement with Ultium Cells, a joint venture of […]

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9:01 AM

Sunday Sankey 5/9/21

Happy Mother’s Day! $AMTX – this small-cap generated way more response than my more-or-less throwaway comment on Friday ever intended, highlighting of a Twitter post. It was about related party transactions and we said it read poorly. Because it did. Apologies if your Friday was adversely affected, there is certainly hedge fund interest here. We have some strong bulls on the stock, who have done way more work than I have. The CEO is controversial, […]

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12:18 PM

Morning Sankey 5/4/21

As we hoped, oils’ results are going great. The sector is powering higher, with the overall steady outperformance grind that has resumed in value over growth. The oil price for Q2 is tracking well ahead of these results, further boosting the EPS upgrade cycle. Huge result from Suncor; great commentary on cash return from COP, a surprise beat from Marathon Petroleum with major disposal and buyback coming… good results from head-to-head rivals Diamondback and Aramco, […]

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8:41 AM

Sunday Sankey 5/2/21

All presentation today, see attached link, after the Sunny Saturday Sankey published yesterday and emailed to you, outlined the past week. The week ahead is extremely busy with results – you can see my diary in the attached presentation. The monster week of earnings is behind us, with impressive results from FMAGA – Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Alphabet. Week ahead also has Secretary of State Blinken travelling to Ukraine. “I can’t tell you that we […]

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12:25 PM

Sunny Saturday Sankey 5/1/21

Winner winner chicken dinner: Hess this past week. ExxonMobil, we think won of the mega-oils. Hess is the “last great oil NAV play” on Guyana, the stock is worth $100/share+ if you believe $80/bbl is coming down the strip; Goldman clearly does, we get there too, with a weak US$ and not dissimilar balances – a demand boom is coming. Wildcards vs GS are Iran and India, alongside the potential for rising US interest rates […]

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3:11 PM

Morning Sankey 4/29/21

If you have the strength, Happy Hour Tonight 5pm Register Here:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84981726924 Let’s see who can be the most bullish on the call! Using $60/bbl long term we can get to a $90 net asset value for Hess, but that work is subject to a conversation with the company. At $70 long term oil we get to $100 NAV/share. It is not as crazy as the old Hess, which ostensibly was trading at a 50% […]

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8:56 AM

Morning Sankey 4/27/21

One thing you get from looking at the BP and Tesla results side-by-side: BP could learn a lot from Tesla about fonts. I find the BP “rich-kindergarten-teacher” font irritating. Tesla results are beautifully presented, to my eye, distressed alloy on black. In this note, we consider Tesla decline rates briefly. That theme will be a long-term one for us, much as we have highlight decline rates in wind and solar.   Even with my begrudging […]

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8:57 AM

Sunday Sankey 4/25/21

Monster week of earnings ahead, a clash in the titanic battle of growth vs value. The forces of growth over-ran us values, but we started a fightback that saw several battles won since the terrible relative lows of August 2020. In Q1 this year, value began to rampage against growth. April has seen a growth fightback, with the US$ holding and US interest rates even rallying. I asked a market player if he was bullish […]

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1:52 PM

Morning Sankey 4/23/21

Well, it’s feedback Friday! The age-old client meeting line gets used again: Client Q: “Paul, what is the most common question that clients are asking right now?” Paul A: “What is the most common question that clients are asking you right now?” True joke, but being Friday, we are not done – here they are: Newsflash: US customs have intercepted $2m of lumber being smuggled in shipments of cocaine What do you call an anti-vax […]

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9:12 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

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

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

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 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
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