Recent Posts

The Value in Scarcity: US Refining

Re-iterate Price Target: Valero $150/share by June 30th. Re-iterate Overweight all US refiners. Illustrating Valero $190/share argument. This is a time of year when the weekly Department of Energy US oil data is crucial: it will be released at 10:30am today. We see an emerging crisis in US oil product markets, depending on how much of that crisis we export to Atlantic Basin markets. It will be a battle of demand destruction: who blinks first […]

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8:37 AM

Good times in the right places

Happy Sunday in May, Never a bad thing. Fog this morning has lifted. Aramco results this morning rounded out a week when it became the largest stock in the world by market capitalization, surpassing Apple (not by free float, the Saudi government owns 94%). It  generated an enormous profit in a quarter when Brent averaged just about $100/bbl (actually $99.53/bbl Q1 average).   Refining earnings, as well as continued huge upstream earnings, will be even […]

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3:56 PM

It’s a Marathon and a Print

We had Kathryn Kelley and Bob Jonke on the Strategy Session yesterday. The story of how I managed to steal a major client’s wallet after we watched the Real Madrid vs Man City game with Kathryn was not repeated. It was an accident! Bob is worried about demand destruction and not super-bullish crude here. By contrast, Kathryn sees a 3mb/d shortage of oil in 2H which simply cannot be drawn from inventory, so something has […]

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8:47 AM

You said that; Hess, Antero, Suncor

First quarter reporting season is always a crazy flurry, and this one is no different. To add to the excitement, just as I sat back yesterday having published on Antero, news broke that Elliott Associates had gone activist on Suncor. We had Hess IR Jay Wilson on Strategy Session. Hess could be worth $200/share on a five year view, at $100/bbl oil. For sure, Guyana is just about the only major global oil supply growth. […]

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9:03 AM

Happy Anniversary

The only good number in oil is the oil price The only good demand number in oil is refining margins The only barrier of entry to being an oil analyst is units You are only as good as your last call CNBC want me on this afternoon – unusually they booked me two weeks ago – for the second anniversary of oil prices going negative. Let me go to the grave saying I called for […]

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9:43 AM

Iraq and a Hard Place

This note starts with some near term Iraq production and export analysis, and works backwards through the short term political history, and long term political history, of the country, in the context of oil. Bottom line, Iraqi political instability continues, but oil production has steadily risen over the past 15 years to around 4.3mb/d – an all-time historic high for Iraq – and can likely rise a few more 100kb/ds, certainly in the medium term. […]

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8:52 AM

Oil’s share of the SPX

Ripper chart, most bullish I have seen in 30 years following US E&P – quant analysis. Any chart available on request, any stock in the market… Share of S&P500 market cap vs share of S&P500 earnings. Black line is sellside. Blue line is buyside (share of market cap). Buyside is smarter than sellside, read the charts. Mi amigo US E&P, chart most bullish in history; Oxy, PXD, COP, FANG, APA, Hes.. Unprecedented bullish chart, buy […]

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5:05 PM

PBF & PBS Strategy Session

China rant PBF – Q1 likely half messy, but finishes running strong into incredible margins as Q2 starts Sankey Recommends: Liverpool vs Man City Premiership decider tomorrow – two of the best club football teams ever to play, at their peak. PBF CEO Tom Nimbley, President Matt Lucey, CFO Erik Young, and IR Colin Murray were on good form on Strategy Session yesterday evening. Nimbley started his career in refining in the 1973 oil price […]

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8:53 AM

Nets, Knicks, Refiners

Tonight PBF management on Strategy Session, 5pm for a tight hour. RSVP. I was at the Knicks vs Nets game last night with a global oil executive; combined with conversations with ConocoPhillips management Tuesday, some brief points. First, Shell profit warning this morning. Break it up. We would like to see a global LNG & gas and power trading powerhouse, a downstream “high carbon” operation with refining, chemicals and retail, a deepwater company. We don’t […]

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8:48 AM

Zen and the art of refining maintenance

This Thursday 7th April, Strategy Session with PBF Senior Management 5pm – RSVP Tonight – ConocoPhillips senior management in town for informal sellside drinks Tomorrow, DC hearing, House Energy and Commerce “Gouged at the Gas Station: Big Oil and America’s Pain at the Pump.” In oil, the excitement this morning is New York jet fuel prices going off the scale, part of the theme we talked about over the past couple of weeks, especially after […]

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9:20 AM

Tilting at Windmills

Well, that was quite the Q1 2022! But we got it in the books. I think the low point of Q1 for me was the evening of Thursday 3rd March, shortly after the 24th February Russia-Ukraine invasion, when the largest nuclear plant in Europe, Zaporizhzhia, appeared to be under direct attack and burning, right as I had a one-hour briefing with the State Dept, and my contact told me that surviving a nuclear attack is […]

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11:52 AM

Uzi said then done

We have the perfect guest on Strategy Session tonight at 5pm – Delek CEO Uzi Yemin, a refiner who actively buys oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. One interesting line from regular guest Kathleen Kelley – the expected 1mb/d SPR release announcement strongly implies no Iran deal. Houthi attacks on Saudi – who squarely blame the Iranians for Houthi support – have further reduced the likelihood of a deal. She also states that the move […]

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9:26 AM

Coterra & US E&P: Keep Your Discipline

The attached note started as a focus on Coterra, the $22bn market cap combination of two US E&Ps, Cimarex and Cabot, one oily, the other gassy, that merged and just started trading as $CTRA in late 2021. In the note you will find the rank data: the value destruction for shareholders of the US oil exploration and production (E&P) industry in their giant shale oil science experiment 2010-2019. Line from the note: “from 2006-2019, the […]

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7:58 AM

Sunday Targets

This week, a three page thematic overview, followed by supporting charts. First the text, then the charts. ~ Noted refinery explosion last evening, no deaths reported, at ExxonMobil’s small (“only” 60kb/d) Billings Montana niche refinery that is important for local balances. Would drive margins higher for Midcon players such as HollyFrontier, Coffeyville, Delek, and West Coast PBF, and might accelerate ExxonMobil’s long standing attempts to sell the plant (price always said to be too high). […]

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3:22 PM

Kazak Whisperer

Kathleen Kelley, “OPEC Whisperer” tonight on Happy Hour. Additionally in the following weeks we have two major refining CEOs ready to talk about oil markets. 3/24, 5:00PM EST – Kathleen Kelley 3/31, 5:00PM EST – Delek CEO | Uzi Yemin 4/7, 5:00PM EST – PBF CEO & CFO | Tom Nimbley and Erik Young You can participate on application, but if you don’t pay Sankey Research, why would you ask? If you want a charity, […]

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8:57 AM

Aramco’s Tax Windfall

Aramco’s full year 2021 results released Sunday (3/20/22) were more historic than perhaps the market appreciated. First, an announcement of a major increase in capex did not yield a major boost in oil supply, from a global perspective. Saudi capacity will rise just 1.5mb/d, exports 2.5mb/d by 2027. Second, an extraordinary statement from Saudi’s foreign ministry should give any observer of global markets pause for thought: Saudi Arabia said on Monday it would not bear […]

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9:02 AM

Sunday Overtime

Extremely busy this weekend, juggling Patricia wanting to go spring-time walking dogs and window shopping in (packed) SoHo, and me wanting to solidly sit in front of the TV watching March Madness while making bets online. Somehow she does not see the appeal of watching seven games of college basketball back-to-back over seven hours. Of course, she wins. I did snag North Carolina to win it all at 50-1 BEFORE they beat #1 seed and […]

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2:35 PM

TINA Turner

“Only the dead have seen the end of war” – Plato (Attributed). The Quote is writ large at the entrance of the Imperial War Museum in London, one of London’s great museums, if lesser known. Recommended. Thoughts & prayers with the suffering in Ukraine. Peace in Brooklyn, the weather our worst direct concern. The hard yards, I always say from my First World Wall St perch, are January 1st through to March Madness. And today, […]

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4:17 PM

Elastic Policy

ALL STAR STRATEGY SESSION tonight 5pm ET: Paddy Nicoll, UK Defense expert, Frank Kelly, DC expert, Kathleen Kelley, oil market guru, Jan Stuart, oil market guru. Register Here https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwtcu-vrjsvHNZytoBYUkhN5LzpcaKa-p1O Nothing beats a crisis to test a framework, and loyal readers will know that our framework has been that the marginal producer of global oil (& gas) is the USA, and the marginal consumer of global oil is the USA. Sure enough, cometh the crisis, cometh, […]

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8:58 AM

Trade: Buy Tech Short Oil & Pray for Peace

There have been massively structural changes as a result of Vladimir Putin’s disastrous invasion of Ukraine. In the short term we believe that negotiations for peace are more advanced than seemed to be the case yesterday morning. We also received intelligence that the loss of a disproporionate number Russian commanders, starting, it was said, with the Chechen death squad sent to assassinate Ukrainian President Zelensky, who were apparently “neutralised”, indicates that elements of the Russian […]

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8:43 AM

Sunday CPC

In the drama of the week, we never got to publish the dreaded and yet celebrated “Sankey Porcupine” charts that reveal the key message from two analyst meetings last week, Chevron and ExxonMobil, in four charts: capex and volume targets. We do that in this note, and cover Chevron risk in Kazakhstan. Do NOT try to pick the top in this oil & oil equity market; there could be a long way further up to […]

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2:32 PM

Flock of Seagulls: Iran

Strategy Session tonight, Doomberg. New guest date to-be-confirmed, Florian Thaler CEO of oil analytics company Oilx. We spoke to him yesterday on the subject of… The potential impact of Iran on oil markets in 2022. It is very different from 2015. In this note we briefly explain why. Iraq production falls 160kb/d in January – covered in this note. Accusations of cross-border shelling in Eastern Ukraine. No further comment in the note, but you can […]

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8:52 AM

Renewable Diesel Rules

Executive Summary With decades of experience covering oil & gas, from a US and global perspective, the authors have sufferedtwenty years of government renewables fuels “strategy” as brutally as any analysts in the market. In this notewe conclude there is a major problem with the current hottest theme in global oil & gas investment:renewable diesel. We walk you through from “what is it?” to “what is the problem?” The answer is:feedstock. This note is the […]

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7:56 PM

Brassy Sunday Sankey

We have a big Renewable Diesel note coming later today, so in recognition of your Sunday time, just a couple of points on next week. Valero management are in New York City Monday/Tuesday. See what we are doing here? Our Renewable Diesel note is not published tonight by happy accident, it is a cunning plan. One Valero event is a Mark Mills presentation, presumably he of the Manhattan Institute and steely-eyed critic of the energy […]

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4:16 PM

Not Joe Rogan, but a little Toby Keith

Nothing ruins a Friday faster than realizing its only a Tuesday. Psyche! Yes, you guessed it, it’s Friday jokes after a LONG week.   Where does a mansplainer get his water? From a well, actually… The Irish army has a sniper famous for bouncing his shots off rocks and other hard surfaces. His name is Rick O’Shea. We should also mention the Irishman who sits outside: Paddy O’Furniture. For a second consecutive year a team […]

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9:12 AM

How to get to $100 (Hess)

My friend Hunter has gone vegan. Now we call him Gatherer. Where does Putin keep his armies? In his sleevies. Why does the Norwegian navy have barcodes on the side of their ships? So when they arrive back at port they can Scandinavian. A man rushes into the Doctor’s office “Doctor, I am shrinking!” Doctor: “Can’t you just be a little patient?” Think you are good at English? Try this: Why do British people love […]

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9:15 AM

It’s behind you!

Tonight, Strategy Session with Jay Wilson, Vice President, Hess Corporation. 5pm RSVP. You are not going to believe this: Valero beats. That would be the 17th straight quarter that Valero has beaten analysts’ estimates. Kudos to IR! It does beg the question of why would any company ever miss estimates? After all, Valero earnings since 2017 have hardly been a cake walk. This period includes COVID and the worst possible environment for a refiner. They […]

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9:11 AM

Third Wheels & India

Portfolio Manager Special Happy Hour Tonight, 5pm ET, with Michael Masters. There might be no better commentator on “inflation day” than Mike. We additionally have four energy/natural resources PMs confirmed. VERY LIMITED event. Sankey Happy Hour Registration: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIocuuprTooG9SqNZxj9rgUjl9KZxTOEHAJ Masters first came to national – and my – attention testifying to Congress further to a white paper he wrote on oil speculation around 2008. It is always a good sign when you write a research note […]

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9:25 AM

Looking for Kilos

Yesterday I took on re-modelling the oil market according to the new world order: OPEC+. But I also spoke to a top hedge fund portfolio manager, US mega-player, who is based in Singapore for a couple of months. He made the following points: Strong Singapore economy with staff shortages – he waited an hour for a coffee the other day China cutting back on energy intensity. Brain drain from Hong Kong. Massive capex cycle starting […]

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3:31 PM

Russia: the tyranny of the week

I got up thinking about a quick look at Russia for the Morning Note; ALMATY, Jan 6 (Reuters) – Fresh violence erupted in Kazakhstan’s main city on Thursday after Russia rushed in paratroopers to put down a countrywide uprising in one of Moscow’s closest former Soviet allies. Police in the main city Almaty said they had killed dozens of rioters overnight into the early hours of Thursday morning. The authorities said at least 18 members […]

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7:07 PM

Morning Refining Conference PBF

Our refining conference opened yesterday with an entertaining and informative conversation with the senior management of PBF: Tom Nimbley, Chairman and CEO, Matt Lucey, President, and Erik Young, CFO, and Colin Murray, IR. Noted in passing: OPEC meeting today, huge bull story over the past week was Russia’s December production numbers that once again failed to meet quota and remained flat with November at 10.93mb/d. Russian gas flows are also again very low to Europe […]

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8:37 AM

Some 2022 Bets Previewed

Thinking about the year ahead, one of my favourite Twitter follows @Raisingthebar47 published the following deliberately non-consensus list of things that will happen energy in 2022. The list is interesting, notably for natgas theorists, but also because it represents what could be considered a list of unexpected events for the year; it was just a quick checklist of things to consider: Natgas back to <$2.50/mcf MVP cancelled/pushed to ’23 (Mountain Valley Pipeline) Oil hits <$50/bbl […]

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12:23 PM

Morning Libya, Ecuador, and Oil Shock

A couple of stories over the past week have highlighted the precarious nature of global oil supply Outage in Libya 300kb/d Force majeure declared in Ecuador, cutting exports by at least 200kb/d Upstream Online 20th December 2021 Production from four Libyan oilfields has been shut in, causing NOC, the state oil company, to declare force majeure on crude exports from two ports the Zawia and Mellitah terminals. NOC said in a statement on Monday that […]

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8:34 AM

Renewables, RFS, RVOs, RINs & Refiners

Of the many fine analysts I have had the privilege to know over the years, Greg Bordelon is clearly in the pantheon. A true oil guy, son of a Mobil Oil man, he graduated in 2000 from Tulane, cut his teeth at Exxon, and moved on to finance at FBR Capital Markets and Millennium, and before spending many years as an oil long-short portfolio manager for Citadel, subsequently running his own firm. I extend deep […]

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1:13 PM

Friday: OPEC meeting continues

So the December 2021 OPEC did not end. But the working decision was to increase production. Having not met the previous decision to increase production. OPEC+ also decided to continue to require those that had exceeded previous quotas, should still have to cut back to make up for excess production previously, with lack of production currently. Yep, it’s a mess, and in this note I publish a table that tries to make sense of it […]

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9:03 AM

OPEC Happy Hour? Yikes!

OPEC tomorrow: Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) 7am ET; OPEC+ meeting 8am ET Woah it seems the chat from OPEC is they may just stick with the plan. That is, there is potential for an INCREASE in line with the 2021 plan tomorrow. This in spite of Joint Technical Committee (JTC) showing a massive excess of oil in Q1: LONDON, Dec 1 (Reuters) – OPEC+ sees the oil surplus worsening to 2 mbpd in January, […]

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7:15 PM

Morning Petrobras

ExxonMobil confirms capex of $20-$25 billion per year through 2027. Spending $16bn in 2021e. ExxonMobil Q&A Analyst call at 10:30am ET Petrobras analyst day barely registers with Wall Street. Production expected to FALL in 2022 vs 2021 Production of 2218kb/d liquids is a hair lower than 2235kb/d in 2021e Everything looks great at Petrobras as a company, great resource, major Non-OPEC player, the weak Real is a positive for the company with Real costs and […]

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8:46 AM

Letter from the Front Line 11/28

Very tricky to call, indeed! OPEC/Saudi surely will act if markets don’t bounce – my Middle East Intelligence says Saudi is worried about the price but wants to see the market follow through Monday. Fascinating real-time week coming up, we think there might be a unilateral cut by Saudi if the market continues to collapse. But for OPEC to do a cut, is extremely complicated. The easy out, given they have to do something unless […]

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4:36 PM

Morning Chatterjee & Chazen 11/18/21

SPR Releases roiling markets, Biden Administration perfect fodder for Happy Hour. Happy Hour TONIGHT with former FERC Chairman Neal Chatterjee, along with Aaron Cutler, partners at major DC law firm Hogan Lovells. Aaron at 5pm, Neal at 5:30pm. Both have deep Washington energy experience at the highest level – Neal was former Chief of Staff for Senator McConnell, Senate Republican Leader. It is obviously vital to understand the shifting energy landscape in Washington. These are […]

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9:12 AM

Morning EOGtism

Heading to a group meeting with new EOG CEO Ezra Yacob this afternoon, this note takes a look back at the history of the company from my perspective. As the oil age continues, and as global oil supply gets visibly tight against the remarkable 100mb/d of demand globally (>1,000 barrels per second of global oil consumption), we think the market will begin to pay more attention to inventory levels and reserves replacement rates. There was […]

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9:22 AM

Sunday Sankey 11/7/21

Quick note today as I have two events. One of my favourite parties, this morning an NY Marathon party in Carroll Gardens adjacent to the running route, which starts at 9am. It is the only party I know of that starts at 9am on a Sunday. And then to the NY Giants game playing the Raiders at Meadowlands 1pm. You can get there easily, getting out involves multiple trains. It is a family tradition to […]

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11:12 AM

Morning Sankey 11/2/21

There was a funny Tweet about Joe Biden’s shut-eye at COP26 yesterday: “It’s not nodding off if you say “Amen” when you open your eyes again”. Two major developments caught our attention yesterday. First, Canadian PM Trudeau promises to reduce emissions from the oil & gas sector to net-zero by 2050. Second, with major implications for the US E&P industry, the WSJ reports that the EPA is greatly increasing its methane limits, a move which […]

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9:22 AM

US E&P Q3: The Power to Set Oil Prices

Key points: Clients are focused on OPEC spare capacity and demand growth, but also, rightly, North American supply growth, which is the most price elastic component of global oil supply. Halliburton results yesterday naturally raise questions over US production growth; the company stated that it sees 20% rise next year in North American revenues, which includes “solid pricing gains”. This would imply Halliburton expects US E&P capex to be ~10% higher next year; not a […]

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3:07 PM

Embark Sunday Sankey 10/17/21

Today as your Sunday treat, we attach a focus note on Embark Autonomous Trucks, as part of our thematic research on the energy transition. Extending attention into the autonomous truck sector has been a fascinating ride, quite literally when I rode in an autonomous tractor trailer hauling 26,000lbs of sand through the traffic jams of Oakland, this September just past. The thing worked amazingly, through all the challenges of modern traffic. Imagine an asset-light company […]

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4:44 PM

Morning Putin & Antero 10/14/21

Tonight: Gordon Shearer, world LNG expert, on Happy Hour 5pm ET. Email me for link paul@sankeyresearch.com Gordon fits brilliantly with the world energy crisis, discussed at length by Putin yesterday. This morning I took the time – and it took a good while, given simultaneous translation, etc – to transcribe what President Putin said at the Russia Energy Week Summit yesterday. This early morning effort was made: Because Putin is seen as holding a major […]

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9:37 AM

Morning Sankey 10/5/21

The headlines from yesterday’s OPEC meeting were “oil jumps to its highest level since 2014”. We finally made it back, and goodness me, it was a long road. Of course, the WTI price we have attained today with a super-bullish backdrop is completely different from what we faced in October/November 2014. At the time, we had peaked at $107/bbl in mid-2014, after a sustained period 2010-2014 when oil traded in a range with $80/bbl as […]

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8:09 AM

Morning Sankey 9/30/21

Key points: CHK new CEO EQT issues stock & hedging status Enbridge Line 3 starts tomorrow delivering oil, good for Canadian oils Emissions intensity of global oil producers Quote of the day: “I just know the the more control there is, the less growth there is. The great lesson of the twentieth century is that central planning doesn’t work” – Rick Warren (Drucker-Warren Dialogue, 2003) after @buckquivas on Twitter Chesapeake raises Domenic “Nick” Dell’Osso Jr […]

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8:30 AM

Morning Qinhuangdao

Key points today: Virtual roadshow with Embark Autonomous Trucks this week Thursday. China has run out of coal.  Can’t say I had that on my 2021 bingo card. Opening question for Sankey quick hit on CNBC Fast Money: China running out of coal (stock mentioned: Peabody Coal $BTU see below). It became a cyclical vs secular quick debate; further to a client comment “if it doesn’t get cold in December this unravels”, we think it […]

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7:19 AM
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