Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Brent-WTI Now At Parity -- December 22, 2015

Tweeting now: Brent-WTI now at parity in the front month.

Recently it was reported that WTI has to be near a $4-premium to Brent for US light oil exports to be economical. At the time, Brent had the advantage, about a $1.10 premium to WTI.

Just a bit over two years ago, this post:
March 14, 2013:  At Bloomberg energy, Brent - $111; WTI - $93. Spread: $18. At COB, interestingly enough, the CNBC crawler showed the Brent-WTI spread to be $16.26, one of the narrowest spreads in quite some time.
Amazing how things change. 

I track the spread occasionally at this post.

The definition of a "front month":
Used in futures trading to refer to the contract month with an expiration date closest to the current date, which is often in the same month. In other words, this would be the shortest duration contract that could be purchased in the futures market. Contracts that are a month or more behind the front month contracts are referred to as back month contracts.
A Note to the Granddaughters
Christmas Shipping

The Los Angeles Times is reporting:  High-volume online shopping is putting a strain on shipping firms and causing delay.

A version of this story has been reported earlier; not much new in this article, but it does bring us up to date. I would not have taken the time to post it, except I needed to take a break from reading Megan Marshall's The Peabody Sisters, c. 2005, a "finalist for the Pulitzer Prize." I bought the book when we were living in Boston some years ago. I can't recall how much of it I had previously read, but I'm in my "American Renaissance / American Bloomsbury / Concord" phase and was eager to re-read this book. I am not disappointed.

But again I digress.

The reason the LA Times story on Christmas shipping caught my attention was because I was surprised how quickly my orders of Omaha Steaks (as gifts for others) have been shipped and have arrived. Normally, it seems Omaha Steaks "regular" shipping takes 7 - 10 days but during this Christmas season, it's been about 4, maybe 5 days. One package will arrive Christmas Eve -- after being ordered yesterday, or maybe the day before. I forget specifics.

[Omaha Steaks is expensive but quality is guaranteed; one knows exactly what one is going to get. The portions I purchase are very, very small -- way too small for roughnecks and cowboys -- but at my age, perfect. Much more could be written on portion size, but I will leave it at that, for now.] 

As long as I've digressed, let me continue. I have been absolutely spoiled by the filet mignons sold by Omaha Steaks. I believe their next best cut is the top sirloin. I no longer care that much for top sirloin -- but then last week, at the Farmer's Market here in Grapevine, I talked with a vendor who sold balsamic vinegars and various "virgin" olive oils. She came from an "authentic" Texas ranch. We got into a fairly long discussion. I was surprised to hear that her family regularly marinades their steaks in blackberry balsamic vinegar / olive oil / pepper -- I always thought it was sacrilegious to marinade good Texas Angus but apparently I'm wrong. (Not the first time. LOL.)

So, now I marinade my Omaha Steak top sirloin in blackberry balsamic vinegar / olive oil / pepper.

I first learned how to marinade meat when marinading lamb. My rosemary / thyme / garlic / balsamic vinegar / olive oil / pepper marinade takes about 45 minutes to prepare -- all that chopping. In comparison, the beef steak marinade takes 20 seconds -- I simply pour an unmeasured amount of the vinegar and oil in a ziplock bag, add some pepper and throw in the steaks. Unlike lamb, which must be marinaded at least 12 hours (overnight; 18 hours or more is preferable), beef steak only has to be marinaded five or six hours, and in a pinch, could probably be marinaded in four hours.

I first learned how to marinade lamb from Weber's Big Book of Grilling. By the way, this is the only book one needs for grilling.

Marinade For Lamb
page 20 from Weber's

  • 2 T olive oil      
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T whole-grain mustard
  • 2 T finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 T finely chopped thyme
  • 1 T minced shallot
  • 1 t minced garlic
  • 1 t kosher salt (I generally add a bit less)
  • 1 t black pepper (I always add a bit more)

The Last Cowboy Song, Ed Bruce
Note: this is not the "last" cowboy song. It's a song about the last cowboy, whom we have not yet seen. 
There are still a lot of cowboys and cowgirls in Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
There will always be more songs about cowboys.

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