A reader asked me my thoughts on this article:
At a time when the U.S. shale industry was going through a phase of a debt-fueled drilling frenzy, the rest of the oil world entered into a “Lower Forever” mindset in the famous words of Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s chief executive Van Beurden and started to seriously trim spending.
CAPEX investments across the globe crashed 66 percent between 2014 and 2016 to $322 billion and have never fully recovered.
Global E&P Capex spending in 2019 clocked in at an estimated $546bn, well below the $880bn recorded in 2014 during the last oil price boom. The latest spending cuts have set back the clock a good 13 years. Obviously, it’s just a matter of time before global production starts to suffer. Roughly 60 percent of the world’s oil comes from just 25 oil fields mainly in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East with an average age of over 70 years and already experiencing 6-7 percent annual declines. Further, the role of Saudi Arabia as a swing producer tends to be overstated, with its often-cited spare production capacity of 2.5mb/d closer to 0.5mb/d.First line that caught my attention:
CAPEX investments across the globe crashed 66 percent between 2014 and 2016 to $322 billion and have never fully recovered.As usual, analysts use that data point all the time and never remind readers why CAPEX investments crashed 66 percent between 2014 and 2016.
I'll come back to this later.
But for now, we're going elsewhere:
I've been "caveman grilling" for the past six months or so, and these are my comments, observations:
1. Reiterate: no briquets. Natural lump charcoal, or hardwood lump charcoal, or some variation. No briquets. Lump charcoal with absolutely no additives.
2. Specialty BBQ stores: the lump charcoal is fairly expensive. Costco, Walmart, Home Depot, and others have much less expensive and apparently just as good. For example: Western hardwood lump charcoal or Cowboy charcoal vs FOGO. I've only used FOGO so far, but it will be interesting to try Western or Cowboy. See video linked below: which lump hardwood charcoal is the best?
3. From the video: that was the first time I've ever seen an Everdur Charcoal Grill. I love it. Whether I want to spend that much money ($199) when my Weber works just as well is something I will have to consider.
4. From the video: with good cuts of steak, there is absolutely no need for all those high-priced rubs. Salt and pepper is all you need. As long as I'm grilling directly on coal, I won't use anything more than salt and pepper.
5. Salt: kosher, flake, or sea salt. If I can find it, Australian sea salt.
6. From the video: that was a new wrinkle, not using pepper until after the steak has been grilled. Hmmmm.... I'm not sure. This seems all extra work. I put salt and pepper on the steak before grilling. Other chefs have said the same thing.
7. From the video: a small amount of avocado oil. In other videos I was told never to use vegetable oil when grilling directly on coals. I was told the oil directly on the coal would cause a syrupy mess. I will have to check that out.
8. From the video: I've grilled much thinner cuts and everything comes out find, but a 3/4-inch steak probably takes 1:30 on one side; 2:00 minutes on the other. The video suggested 3 to 4 minutes per side for a 1.5-inch steak. For the novice, the biggest risk is leaving the steak too long on the coal.
9. From the video: wow, the cook is doing exactly what I don't recommend. The reason I love caveman grilling is its simplicity. Once the steak is on the coal, leave it alone, except once when one flips it to the other side. All that other touching / moving with the tongs is just too much busy work. One is not making love to the steak, one is grilling it. Put it on the coals and let the heat to all the work.
10. From the video: the cook did not say how long to let the steak rest. Wrap it in aluminum foil and let it rest (continue to cook) for fifteen minutes.
11. From the video: I was thrilled to see a chimney used to start the coals.
12. From the video: preparing the coal "floor" before placing the stake on the grill is something I had not properly done. I will fix that next time I grill. Maybe. Again, a lot of busy work. I like caveman grilling for its simplicity: chimney; salt and pepper the steak; pour the charcoal onto the grill; lay the steak on the charcoal; turn once; aluminum foil for fifteen minutes. Done.
12. From the video: the crust looked great. I've not duplicated that yet as well as I would like.
Which lump hardwood charcoal burns the best? Doesn't test FOGO. The video compares the "consistency" of the batches in each bag. That's been an eye-opener when it comes to FOGO. FOGO has a fair amount of "gravel" (or very small pieces of lump charcoal) at the bottom, but huge, and I mean huge, logs at the other end that barely fit in the chimney. In the video, B&B was the surprise winner by far based on length of burn; Cowboy came in second but the "consistency was crap," making a third of the bag unusable. Some of the chunks in Cowboy were said to be too large to put in a chimney. From this video, another observation: the chimney holds about one pound of lump charcoal when filled to the top.