Saturday, March 28, 2020

Tsunami Hits Venezuela -- Rosneft Will Cease Operations In Venezuela -- Immediately -- March 28, 2020

Updates

March 29, 2020: a story line I missed -- Russia, more than ever, now "controls" Venezuela's destiny. The Venezuela-Russia connection, in fact, looks more and more like the Russian-Cuba connection in the 60s. .
Original Post

6:19 p.m. CT, Saturday, March 28, 2020: just announced. Rosneft (the company that started the OPEC+ spat with Saudi Arabia) just sold all its Venezuelan assets to the Russian government. Huge bailout. Huge. Rosneft isn't holding stranded assets on its book, but will be in a position to buy them back when things are "back to normal." [I was ahead of my headlights on that one, but the very same thing is now being reported over on twitter -- March 29, 2020, 8:47 a..m. CT.] The question is whether Rosneft's former assets will still be producing crude oil for export or if this is Venezuela crude oil taken off the global market. Sources say that operations involving Rosneft's assets will cease immediately. As of January, 2020:
  • Venezuela was exporting one million bopd
  • in terms of customers, Russia’s Rosneft was the largest receiver and intermediary of Venezuelan oil with 33.5% of total exports, followed by state-run China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and its units with 11%, and Cuba’s state-run Cubametales with 7%. 
  • Background, from wiki: Igor Ivanovich Sechin is a Russian oligarch and former government official, considered a close ally and "de facto deputy" of Vladimir Putin. Sechin is often described as one of Putin's most conservative counselors and the leader of the Kremlin's Siloviki faction, a lobby gathering former security services agents. Until 21 May 2012, he served as Deputy Prime Minister of Russia in Vladimir Putin's cabinet, and he is currently the Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman of the Management Board of Rosneft, the Russian state oil company. His nickname is Darth Vader.  
I have trouble believing this won't be the final nail in the Maduro coffin. We may be about to witness a human tragedy on a scale not seen since WWII. Korea, Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, and maybe a few others may beg to differ with that but one wonders.

Later: Russia's bailout of Rosneft suggests a reason other than the one I was led to believe. This is truly a game of chess.

The Bailouts And Bankruptcies Will Start Coming, Fast And Furious -- March 28, 2020

See this post also.

List of bailouts, bankruptcies, mergers, changes in ownership of major crude oil holdings, etc. will be tracked here. We start with the first one out of the gate: Rosneft's Venezuelan assets. Next to watch: Chevron's assets in Venezuela.

Rosneft sells all Venezuelan assets to the Russian government. See below.

Doomsday Chronicles:
Updates 


August 3, 2020:
  • Men's Warehouse files for bankruptcy, link here;
  • Lord & Taylor files for bankruptcy, link here;

July 30, 2020: Bruin E&P files for bankruptcy

July 21, 2020: "Fracking pioneer" BJ Services files for bankruptcy.

July 20, 2020: Briggs & Stratton files for bankruptcy. A century-old, Milwaukee-based company. 

July 8, 2020: Ann Taylor prepares for bankruptcy.

July 8, 2020: Brooks Brothers -- oldest US men's retailer -- to file for bankruptcy.

June 28, 2020: Chesapeake files for bankruptcy.

June 10, 2020: Chesapeake Energy preparing to file for bankruptcy

May 27, 2020: bakery chain Le Pain Quotidien's US arm files bankruptcy

May 23, 2020: Hertz files for bankruptcy protection. 

May 21, 2020: Macy's with huge losses. Victoria's Secret to permanently close 250 stores; parent will also close 50 Body and Bath stores.

May 20, 2020: Pier 1. Walked the plank.

May 18, 2020: JC Penney.

May 17, 2020: five companies on brink of collapse --  OXY, Chesapeake Energy, NOG, Denbury Resources, Transocean.

May 15, 2020: Hornbeck Offshore. 

May 13, 2020: California Resources: in talks for $600 million bankruptcy loan?

May 4, 2020: Chesapeake Energy preparing bankruptcy filing

May 4, 2020: J. Crew files for bankruptcy

April 29, 2020: Oasis to stop operations in the Bakken. CLR announced that it would stop production in the Bakken about a week ago. 

April 27, 2020: Diamond Offshore files for bankruptcy Year-end 2019 data:
  • $5.8 billion in assets
  • $2.6 billion in debt
  • $434.9 million in cash on hand
Diamond owns rigs that can drill in water more than two miles deep. But offshore oil is among the most expensive to produce, putting the company at a disadvantage when prices plunged to less than $30 a barrel.
While newer deepwater projects are less expensive, they still take longer to develop than shale wells and they still can’t compete on costs. What’s more, a global glut of offshore vessels has squeezed profit margins.
April 1, 2020: Whiting files for bankruptcy

6:19 p.m. CT, Saturday, March 28, 2020: just announced. Rosneft (the company that started the OPEC+ spat with Saudi Arabia) just sold all its Venezuelan assets to the Russian government. Huge bailout. Huge. Rosneft isn't holding stranded assets on its book, but will be in a position to buy them back when things are "back to normal." The question is whether Rosneft's former assets will still be producing crude oil for export or if this is Venezuela crude oil taken off the global market. As of January, 2020:
  • Venezuela was exporting one million bopd
  • in terms of customers, Russia’s Rosneft was the largest receiver and intermediary of Venezuelan oil with 33.5% of total exports, followed by state-run China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and its units with 11%, and Cuba’s state-run Cubametales with 7%. 
  • Background, from wiki: Igor Ivanovich Sechin is a Russian oligarch and former government official, considered a close ally and "de facto deputy" of Vladimir Putin. Sechin is often described as one of Putin's most conservative counselors and the leader of the Kremlin's Siloviki faction, a lobby gathering former security services agents. Until 21 May 2012, he served as Deputy Prime Minister of Russia in Vladimir Putin's cabinet, and he is currently the Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman of the Management Board of Rosneft, the Russian state oil company. His nickname is Darth Vader

Notes From All Over, Early Saturday Afternoon Edition -- Marh 28, 2020

Top stories for the week have been posted, link here.

North Dakota, Wuhan flu update. Looks like Bismarck is the "hot zone" for the state. And I doubt the "index" cases arrived from the west (Montana) and moved east. Just saying.


By the way, this points out the problem with the "community acquired, no history of travel to an endemic area." Obviously one doesn't have to travel at all if folks infected with the virus travel to your home. If a super-spreader from out-of-state travels through Bismarck, stops overnight, before leaving the next day, imagine the number of folks that will get infected.

It's irritating when "local" folks are abiding by the rule to "stay-at-home" and then "non-local" folks end up in one's community carrying the disease. But then again, it's eventually going to happen sooner or later.

Oil / Wuhan corridor: New Orleans - Houston - Dallas - Oklahoma City - Denver - Billings - Williston. 

Daily grocery store inventory: wow, I love free market capitalism. Our neighborhood grocery store, the last to "come back," among the seven or eight fairly high-end stores in the immediate area, is pretty much back to normal.
I assume the majority of foot traffic is going to Walmart, Target, Albertson's and Market Street, in that order. Our Tom Thumb: lookin' good. It appears a refrigerator truck came in overnight. I forgot to check bread; I have enough. Canned goods back to "more than adequate." Pasta starting to come back. Most surprising: fresh beef finally showing up again. I forgot to check paper products. Ears of corn have jumped from 33 cents/ear to 69 cents/ear. More than enough milk, but perhaps not the particular brand different folks want. But more than enough. And lots of eggs. Tom Thumb / Texas: we're back!
Local Costco: my daughter tells me that Costco was not a bit busy yesterday. Back to normal. 

Wuhan flu: NYC on track to have more cases than being reported in all of China (of course, the Chinese numbers are suspect but that's more than the mainstream media can comprehend). The big question: why has the city/state/neighboring states not been quarantined? There may be US constitutional reasons, but there are ways to manage that.

Notes From All Over, Late Saturday Morning -- Marh 28, 2020

Texas: pandemic and oil bust. What else could possibly happen? Oh, that's right, hurricane season just around the corner. Link here.

Twitter: all of a sudden OPEC+ -- particularly the "+" -- Russia -- is sounding more conciliatory.

CAPEX during a bust. Counterintutitive. I think folks may be surprised. I will come back to this later.

Production: by July, 2020, a lot more oil may be taken off the market than folks anticipate. I will come back to this later.

Another statistic we're missing: how many test kits test positive? 50%? 90%? 95%? 99%? My hunch: the number of documented cases will continue to rise as long as test kits continue to become available. If the government / commercial sector provide a million test kits to US consumers; close to a million cases will be documented.
This takes me back to surgeons and appendicitis. Before surgeons operate on a patient for suspected appendicitis, surgeons must clearly state in the medical records that the reason for the surgery is "appendicitis" or "rule out appendicitis." Then, after every one hundred cases, let's say, an "inspector" reviews all surgical appendicitis cases. If a surgeon scores 100% -- that means that in every case in which she took a patient to surgery for appendicitis, the medical record indicated the patient had been diagnosed to have appendicitis before the surgery. That means, and read this closely, the surgeon was missing at least an occasional case of appendicitis. Obviously as the skill of the surgeon gets better; experience increases; and, technology, especially improves, the surgeon's score will trend toward 100% but should not be 100%. I've long lost the "acceptable" range for this metric. I imagine it's 96% to 99% these days if the denominator is big enough.
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The Vocabulary Page

I try to work with the granddaughters on vocabulary whenever I get the chance. The oldest one, Arianna, probably has the best command of English. I assume Olivia is very similar, just a couple of years younger, but we don't often see her. And, of course, it's a real joy to learn vocabulary with Sophia, age five years.

I think it would be interesting to spend one week on vocabulary in various disciplines. For example, think of all the vocabulary in just this one paragraph from Edmund de Waal's The Hare With Amber Eyes, page 188:
Emmy dresses to go out. It is winter 1906 in a Viennese street and she is talking to an archduke. They are smiling as she hands him some primroses. She is wearing a pin-striped costume: an A-line skirt with a deep panel at the hem cut across the grain and a matching close-cut Zouave jacket. It is a walking costume. To dress for that walk down Herrengasse wold have taken an hour and ahalf; pantalettes, hemise in fine batiste or crêpe de Chine, corset to nip in the waist, stockings, garters, button boots, skirt with hooks up the plaquette, then either a blouse or a chemisette -- so no bulk on  her arms -- with a high-stand collar and lace jabot, then the jacket done up with a false front, then her small purse -- a reticule -- hanging on a chain, jewellery, fur hat with striped taffeta blow to echo the costume, white gloves, flowers. And no scent; she does not wear it.
Then, next week: architecture.

The following week: horse-drawn carriages.

The week after that: furniture.

One quickly gets the idea.

Week 13: March 22, 2020 -- March 28, 2020

Video of the day:
Top international non-energy story:
Top international energy story:
Top national non-energy story:
Top national energy story:
Top North Dakota non-energy:
Top North Dakota energy story:
Geoff Simon's top North Dakota stories:
  • DAPL in limbo
  • Coronavirus
  • Tax filing deadline (ND) extended to July 15, 2020
  • State lifts highway weight restrictions; extends mileage allowed on state roads
  • ND reviving waivers to extend idled wells amid low prices
  • ND governor: school districts have until April 1 to launch new learning platforms
  • ND receives Medicaid waiver to streamline process during pandemic
  • Unemployment numbers in state at record high levels
  • Working at home putting strain on computer networks
  • SAT and ACT testing canceled due to COVID-19
  • Student load debt through Bank of ND deferred six months
  • Grand Williston to close (movie theater)
  • Minot's Norsk Hostfest canceled (I wish NOLA had canceled Mardi Gras)
  • Southwest Water Authority (Dickinson) awarded for best tasting tap water, 5th in nation
  • COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the importance of plastics from oil 
Operators:

Operations:
Fracking:
Bakken 4.0:
Commentary:
Global warming:

Notes From All Over -- Early Morning Saturday Edition, Continued -- March 28, 2020

Re-posting:


The #1 source for US imported oil is Canada. It will be interesting to see what happens if that supply is interrupted for any reason.

Now, we get this:


Coordinated output levels? What's that supposed to mean? A cartel?

Let's wait until April 15, 2020, to see if Saudi Arabia is actually able to follow through on its rhetoric. The tea leaves suggest not, and Russia says it now has no plans to increase production (or at least that was the last thing I read two days ago).

Worth A Stand-Alone Post -- March 28, 2020


Actually, it's the five stages of grief -- Elisabeth Kubler Ross: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. We're clearly somewhere between "bargaining" and "depression."

Acceptance will set in somewhere around Easter when the three-week lockdown is extended for another three weeks. Companies that aren't "broke" by Easter will be broke by Memorial Day.

Notes From All Over, Early Saturday Morning Edition -- ND First Coronavirus Death; "SEAFLU" Now New US Epidemic -- March 28, 2020

North Dakota: recorded its first "coronavirus death" "yesterday" -- days are moving so quickly it's hard to keep days straight.
If you go to today's report (March 28, 2020) the numbers are obviously not in yet -- the day is only four hours old, but if you click on the "yesterday" button (March 27, 2020 — I assume), we see that North Dakota recorded its first coronavirus death. Sixty-eight cases total; sixteen new cases; and the first reported death. It would seem with only sixteen new cases, the state's public health department would know exactly where these cases originated. 
First ND coronavirus death, link here. And pretty much just as expected:the state announced its first death from the new coronavirus, 
" ... a man in his 90s from Cass County. The man had underlying health conditions and acquired the virus through community spread, the state Health Department reported." 
No comment.
The governor's executive order: barber shops are to be closed. Yes, I know a Cowsills' song I could post, but I won't.
In case you missed it, "seasonal flu" in the United States has just been declared an epidemic by the CDC.

Ethanol: coronavirus could kill it outright. Link here.


Texas: all indications are that "school" is over for this year in Texas. It appears Texas public schools (and I assume most private schools) will finish the year "on-line." Reason?
The New Orleans-Houston connection. New Orleans is out of control; Houston should be in a panic. Where do folks from New Orleans head when disaster strikes? Hopefully Joel Osteen is better prepared this time around. As Houston goes, Texas goes.
By the way: Texas airports -- at least DFW Airport -- has been instructed to process travelers from US "hot spots" (notably New York and Louisiana) differently than other passengers.
Passengers arriving on flights originating from hot spots (notably New York and Louisiana, for those who missed it the first time), will be interviewed and temperatures taken before exiting the airport. Those passengers must provide an address where they will be under mandatory quarantine for fourteen days, apparently regardless of any other mitigating factor. Those with a fever obviously will be evaluated by medical personnel.
My hunch: because of DFW, it's very, very possible, "we" -- literally our Grapevine, TX, neighborhood -- will become a "hot spot" before it's all over. On this hunch, I hope I'm wrong.
Toilet paper: I can't remember if I posted this.
Things are simply moving too quickly. Texas?We're back. The shortages seem to be coming to an end. I stop by our neighborhood grocery story twice daily. I was blown away. It almost looked like a normal store. I found the assistant manager and thanked her -- telling her that it appeared they were getting back to normal. She said "they were getting there." My only concern was a lot of fresh produce might be lost simply because significantly less foot traffic and less produce being bought. The produce section was very, very well supplied. The assistant manager told me that they had actually run out of produce (it must have been very selective; I never saw any real shortage) during the past couple of weeks and today was their first real day being caught up.
The shelves were filling up again and surprise, surprise: Clorox displays were now throughout the store, not just in the cleaning supplies aisles. Only in free market capitalism. Truly amazing how fast things turned around. Toilet paper shortage? Did that last seven days or eight days?
Phase 4: I don't know the three phases, but the $2 trillion bailout/stimulus/New Green Deal passed is colloquially referred to as the "Phase 3 Rescue Package."
Apparently movers and shakers are now talking about a "Phase 4 Rescue Package" which could be even bigger. President Trump suggested that he was open to a "Phase 4" package -- the focus? The states. This came out during the Friday night, March 27, 2020, daily Wuhan flu task force update. By the way, this was such a big, big deal that unlike most updates when the mainstream media does not televise the daily task force briefings, the cable networks broadcast upwards of sixty minutes of President Trump at the briefing, most of them finally cutting away when "he left the building."
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The Apple Page

Wow, what a nuisance. This reminds me of the Apple-U2 debacle, all over again.

"How to enable or disable Apple Music's new release alerts in iOS." Wow, this is going to be a hassle.
Apple on Thursday began rolling out a new Apple Music feature on iPhone and iPad that alerts users to new albums, EPs, and videos from artists included in their music library.

The alerts show at the top of the Library tab in the Music app, and given that they relate to content that's available in Apple Music, they're likely to be welcomed by most subscribers to the streaming service.

But even if you don't subscribe to ‌Apple Music‌, these alerts are still pushed by default to your device's Lock Screen and Notification Center, and may quickly become a source of annoyance. Whatever your preference, the steps below show you how to enable or disable these new release alerts.

On Top Of Everything Else, "Seasonal Flu" Is Now An Epidemic -- CDC -- March 28, 2020

From the March 19, 2020, blog, this screenshot:


Well, well, well .... from the CDC's weekly SEAFLU update just released:


This may be the "second wave" that is common in epidemics. 

This is truly remarkable:
  • this should be the beginning of the end of the "seasonal flu" season, and here we have "seasonal flu" now above the epidemic threshold
  • this was not mentioned during the weekly coronavirus task force update, yesterday (March 27, 2020) update
  • reporters have apparently not noticed this
  • the number of cases per 100,000 actually increased -- again, when the "seasonal flu" season should becoming to an end
    • threshold: 59/100,000 -- above that number it gets my attention
    • previous week, it was 61.6/100,000
    • most recent week: 67.3 / 100,000 -- a nearly 10% increase week over week
  • 222,090 new cases of "seasonal flu" last week -- not being reported by the mainstream press
  • in addition, with social distancing for coronavirus, one would that would help lessen the spread of "seasonal flu"
  • the CDC tells us that "season flu" peaks between December and February, but can last as long as May
  • unlike coronavirus, so far, "seasonal flu" is particularly dangerous to those under four years of age -- see below
  • and ... we have a vaccine for "seasonal flu" -- albeit less than 45% effective
Now, from the CDC, how bad is "seasonal flu" this. Again, from the linked CDC report (most recent week):


Because the CDC put black text on blue background it's hard to read. Here is what the CDC said regarding this year's SEAFLU:
  • worse than most recent seasons
  • rates for children 0 - 4 and adults 18 - 49 are the highest CDC has on record for these age groups;
    • these rates surpass the rates during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic
    • hospitalization rates for school-aged children (5 - 17 years of age) are higher than any recent regular season but remain lower than rats during the 2009 pandemic
    • death rates for children is higher than recorded at the same time in every season since reporting began in 2004 - 05 except for the 2009 pandemic
  • total US flu cases this season: CDC cannot give accurate number -- can only estimate: 
    • nearly 40 million cases
    • 400,000 hospitalizations
    • 24,000 deaths
I find this absolutely incredible. From a medical/scientific point of view, I find it clinically and unemotionally fascinating. In the midst of a coronavirus pandemic which has folks absolutely terrified, this is also one of the worse "seasonal flu" seasons the US has ever had -- and by the time it's over, it may be the worst. If so, few will hear about it because of all the attention Wuhan flu is getting.

My hunch: this post will be picked up by some reporter, and it [the "seasonal flu epidemic] will make the news in a week or so if things get worse ... and, of course, the reporter who picks up on the story will not credit the source. LOL. Just saying. If this is simply a one-time blip, this story will simply die -- "seasonal flu" simply does not have the cachet of COVID-19.

Note: the CDC does not say this explicitly but if one thinks about this, one can go back, read between the lines in the CDC report and consider that's this year's "seasonal flu" numbers are somewhat of a fluke in that "everyone" feeling even the least bit ill is so concerned about coronavirus, they are seeking medical attention and being tested.

In other words, had we not had "coronavirus," we would be in the same situation, but it would been called the 2020 Trump flu epidemic. In many ways, the president was fortunate that the source of his year's coronavirus story came from China, and that he presciently acted early on to ban international flights from China (unlike the Cuomo brothers' stance -- see below). 

In past years, many folks would have simply stayed home, self-medicated with rest, fluids, Tylenol, and "self-quarantining" and never even been seen by health professionals.

By the way, one month ago, ContagionLive suggested the "seasonal flu" season was coming to an end -- again, this was a month ago:


Coronavirus update: the three hot spots in the US right now:
  • Washington State: rates are coming down
  • Louisiana: out of control -- traced back to Mardi Gras 
  • NYC: out of control -- traced back to the mayor and the governor both saying, at the onset of this outbreak, back in February, NYC will remain open to all travelers; welcome visitors; will not shut down:
By January 31, the day President Trump suspended flights from China, “outbreaks were already growing in over 30 cities across 26 countries, most seeded by travelers from Wuhan,” according to one model by the New York Times.
But even by late February, Cuomo boasted about his state’s accessibility to foreign travelers—his state, the governor said on February 26, is the “front door” for visitors from around the world—while only instituting voluntary quarantines for suspected coronavirus carriers.
“Our operating paradigm has always been, prepare for the worst but hope for the best,” Cuomo said.
By the way, NYC is on a trajectory to exceed all of China in number of cases. 

And there we have it. Washington State is winding down, where early on the coronavirus outbreak was pretty much due to one "super-spreader."

One wonders how much "better" the US numbers would have looked if New Orleans would have canceled its Mardi Gras celebrations, and had the Cuomo brothers in New York taken this seriously from the beginning.

Big, big fear: geographical proximity of Louisiana to Houston; the huge inter-mixing of oil workers between the two states (Louisiana and Texas) and the historically close relationship between New Orleans and Houston (Hurricane Katrina diaspora).