Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Notes From all Over -- The Late Evening Edition -- Hints From Heloise -- Why I Love To Blog -- October 14, 2020

CPR for French fries. From a reader. The other day I lamented over the fact that food does not travel well, especially French fries. A reader -- from arid New Mexico -- replied, with minimal editing:

  • French fries:A dry, well-seasoned, cast iron frying pan preheated to just shy of medium heat. Dump your sack of fries on that - don't cover. Let them sit a bit - flip them around while getting the rest of the food unloaded. They'll be hot and crisp. So, if someone's planning to bring a sack of food over, I'll have that pan hot on arrival - it really makes a difference.
  • Pizza: If we're going to go through several pizzas, I'll preheat a big round baking stone. I put out one pizza at a time (or enough for everyone to have 1 slice) and then stick the rest in the oven (preheated to 250 degrees).
  • BBQ: We have a local bbq place here with the best pork ribs I've ever eaten. They have big, slabby "Steak Fries." Because they're cut thicker, we could actually refrigerate them and reheat them with darned good results. If the potatoes are the regular cut (McDonald's), I just throw anything away after the first meal. As arid as it is here, you can't resuscitate them after the first meal. Those big, slabby fries also reheat beautifully in a George Foreman style grill.
  • Onion rings:They have great onion rings - but I've never figured out how to reheat an onion ring. 

Cast iron skillet: one of my prize possessions is a cast iron skillet. I love it. I can see why they've fallen out of favor. Wow, they're heavy. But I love mine. I try to keep my ceramic stove top completely clear (and sparkling clean) at all times, but I make one exception -- the cast iron skillet. It's too heavy for my wife to throw at me. LOL. On the other hand it will fend off flying knives. Just joking. 

Copper skillets as seen on TV: I hate them, but there is a lot of sentimental value in the two copper skillets I have so I won't toss them. 

A big round baking stone: that I don't have. Amazon, here I come. I'm not a big pizza fan, but a genuine Deccimomannu calizone is to die for.  

Addendum from the reader: the cast iron skillet will also give a nice dose of "crisp and hot" to delivered egg rolls, corn bread, garlic bread, etc. We don't bring a lot of food home - for the very reason you mention - it's just not as good.

An investment note that just popped up over at SeekingAlpha: worth a read. I won't invest in MLPs any more; if I were younger ... and richer ... I don't know if I've posted this yet; I was going to and then decided not to. Maybe now's a good time. I partition off a very, very small part of my overall portfolio and actively trade it -- "churn" is the "industry" word, I believe -- based on "momentum" and dividends. PSX is one of the equities that comes up in rotation: next "record date" is November 17, 2020. I buy it for the dividend; sell it to raise cash for a non-dividend-paying "momentum" stock. I don't know if I'm making any money, but it's a lot of fun. Fitzsimmons, in the linked article, says his investment in PSXP was a complete disaster but it's looking better. That was true for two MLPs I invested in years ago. But wow, they've turned out to be a nice investment, pure luck, and it appears the worst is behind us. Archived.

I guess I better post the disclaimer.

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site.  Do not make any investment, financial, job, career, travel, or relationship decisions based on what you read here or think you may have read here.

The Hunter Biden backstory may be one of the funniest backstories of 2020 and that's saying something. 

Notes From All Over -- The Evening Edition -- Chinese Flu -- October 14, 2020

Two data points in this post. Looking at three countries, it appears that France and the UK are in real trouble, again. This is being reported in the news for France; I decided to look for myself. Link here.  

The "problem" is not yet showing up in the death rate. Time will tell. Give it a month.

Now, the second data point / second issue that needs to be discussed. I picked up on this yesterday when some breathless reporter said that the US has now recorded eight million cases of Chinese flu.

Eight million cases. Over eight months. You can do the math.

I can't put my hand around eight million of anything. Although I soon may if the stock market keeps going up the way it's been going up. LOL.

But seriously. What does eight million mean?

Quick! What's the population of the US? Let's say 330 million. I think the official figure is around 330 million but pick your own number (between 300 and 400 million). The higher the number you pick the worse this will turn out to be.

Eight million / 330 million = 0.0242424.... or 2.4%.

That's it. After eight months, less than 3% of all Americans have been "officially" diagnosed with Chinese flu. And the diagnosis, based on anecdotal reports, is incredibly liberal. If you cough and can say you knew a man....your physician will give you a "Chinese flu" diagnosis. 

Some folks say the diagnosis is way too liberal (as noted); others say we are missing many, many cases. The WHO says they assume 10% of the entire global population has "had" the disease. But for the US, it's probably a "wash" between the "high" side and the "low" side.

If so, after eight months, about 2.4% of all Americans have been diagnosed with Chinese flu. 

Does the media ever talk about that? Knowing that the vaccine is at least two years away despite what "everyone" is telling us -- I'm talking about a universally accepted, affordable, and 100% accessible vaccine. 

Hairdressers, restaurant owners, airlines, universities, theme parks, et al, better hope like hell that Hiden' Biden is not our next president with Dr Faust as the surgeon general with Kash 'n Karry as the Fed Chairman. All three are clearly on record that the US needs to be locked down for at least another six weeks, or was it six months, and this time, really locked down.

Eight million Americans. When we get to sixteen million that will be (16/330) just under 5% of the total US population. 

Herd immunity: at least 65% need to have been infected; and I believe the "official" number is closer to 70%.

At this rate, a million cases a month until we get to herd immunity (65% of 330 million) works out to 215 months, or about 18 years. Eighteen years. 

By the way, this helps explain why Disney made the announcement the other day that "streaming" is their future. Disney has seen the writing on the wall and it's not pretty. Cruises, movie theaters, and theme parks are not in Disney's future.

Eight million cases in the US. 

Seasonal flu? According to the CDC: 

While the impact of flu varies, it places a substantial burden on the health of people in the United States each year. CDC estimates that influenza has resulted in between 9 million – 45 million illnesses, between 140,000810,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 – 61,000 deaths annually since 2010.

Nine million to 45 million season flu cases every year.  And that's with a vaccine that's about 45% effective.

Note: I often make simple arithmetic errors.

I Couldn't Figue It Out --- But A Reader Did -- Even If Scott Adams Couldn't -- October 14, 2020

I used to enjoy listening to Scott Adams, then lost interest for various reasons. Tonight, I was surfing through looking for music and this popped up in the YouTube rotation directed "at" me. LOL.

This is really good timing. Link here. A reader sent me a "CDC" study that clearly shows masks "do not work." That was not the purpose of the study. I was going to post the study, but I was unable to figure out what the researchers were trying to "prove" or show, so I put it in draft and left it there ... until tonight. 

Interestingly enough, those performing the study completely ignored the obvious -- masks don't work. But, as noted, I couldn't figure out the study -- an incredibly poorly written study -- so at the end of the day, I wrote up the post but then put it in draft, not posting it. I thought I might be misreading something.

So, now, tonight while surfing YouTube looking for music I ran across this Scott Adams white board -- can I say that, "white board"? Whatever. 

Here's the screenshot from Scott Adams earlier today:

Somehow, Scott Adams was unable to see the obvious.

Now I know why I quit listening to  / watching him, it seems now, more than a year ago.

Now, for the post that I put in draft mode -- now it seems okay to post it.

When did you last use a new mask, or wash the one you're wearing? From a reader:

What's in your ... mask?

The link inside the screenshot is a pdf from the CDC that will most likely download on your desktop or in a new window:

Later: the more I look at that study, the more confusing it gets. I honestly don't understand it. Look at the table below.

EIA Dashboards -- October 2020

WTI beatdown: at the sidebar at the right, who will be most resilient, the Bakken or the Permian?  Just look at the Bakken wells (oil and gas) compared to the Permian (oil and natural gas). Amazing. 

EIA dashboards:

MRO Adds A Rig In The Bakken; MRO Now Has Four Active Rigs In The Bakken -- October 14, 2020

Active rigs:

Active Rigs1658675931

Active rigs:

  • MRO: 4 (Dunn County, 2; Mountrail County, 1; McKenzie County, 1)
  • CLR: 2 (Dunn County; Williams County)
  • BR: 2 (McKenzie County)
  • WPX: 2 (McKenzie County)
  • Hess: 1 (Mountrail County)
  • Slawson: 1 (Mountrail County)
  • Petro-Hunt: 1 (McKenzie County)
  • Midwest AgEnergy Group: 1
  • Minnkota Power Coop: 1
  • Red Trail Energy: 1

One new permit, #37900:

  • Operator: CLR:
  • Field: Cedar Hills (Bowman)
  • Comments: 
    • in the far southwest corner of the state, outside of the Bakken; generally a Red River area; in SEW 10-130-106, 532' FSL and 2060' FWL, Cedar Hills

Six producing wells (DUCs) reported as completed:

  • 36384, , CLR, Nadia 10-19H, Jim Creek,
  • 31792, , Petro-Hunt, USA 153-96-13A-24-7H, Keene,
  • 36115, , Hess, GO-Dahl-156-97-2215H-4, Dollar Joe,
  • 36116, , Hess, GO-Dahl-156-97-2215H-5, Dollar Joe,
  • 36117, , Hess, GO-Dahl-156-97-2215H-6, Dollar Joe,
  • 37016, , Hess, TI-Blestrud-158-94-3130H-1, Tioga,


Wells of interest in the immediate area of the new permit noted above:

  • 17365, 263, CLR, Lowe 44-9NH, Cedar Hills, t9/08; cum 348K 8/20; North Red River B,
  • 17460, 107, CLR, Lowe 44-9SH, Cedar Hills, t10/08; cum 234K 8/20; North Red River B,
  • 14071, 384, CLR, J.D.T. 1-10F, Cedar Hills, t9/97; cum 378K 8/20; North Red River B, 
  • 17520, PA/280, CLR, JDT 24-10SH, Cedar Hills, t1/09; cum 167K 6/19; North Red River, B,
  • 17482, 216, CLR, JDT 24-10NH, Cedar Hills, t11/08; cum 500K 8/20; North Red River B,
  • 15400, 69, CLR, Seven Mile 34-10SH, Cedar Hills, t8/03; cum 7K 9/04; North Red River B,
  • 17837, 304, CLR, Lowe 42-9SH, Cedar Hills, t2/1-; cum 237K 8/20; North Red River B,
  • 17747, 267, CLR, Lowe 42-9NH, Cedar Hills, t2/10; cum 552K 8/20; North Red River B,
  • 15388, EOR, CLR, JDT 12-10SH, Cedar Hills, t--; cum --; North Red River B,
  • 15389, EOR, CLR, JDT 12-10NH, Cedar Hills, t--; cum --; North Red River B,
  • 15346, 92, CLR, Turbiville 21-11SH, Cedar Hills, t1/03; cum 16K 11/03; North Red River B,
  • 15348, 43, CLR, Turbiville 21-11NH, Cedar Hills, t2/03; cum 8K 11/03; North Red River B,

Huge Year For ND Farmers -- On Track To Be #1 Sunflower Producer In The US -- October 14, 2020


Later, 6:22 p.m. CDT: based on comments from a reader regarding corn in southern Minnesota, my hunch is that the entire midwest, Ohio west to Montana, is going to have bumper crops this year.

Original Post

North Dakota poised to be the nation's leading sunflower producer for 2020 -- the Williston Herald.  Data points:

  • 1.23 billion pounds .... but look at this -- up a staggering 64% from 2019 -- if realized
    • nationwide sunflower production: 2.81 billion pounds
    • 1.23 / 2.81 = 44% of nation's production produced by North Dakota
      • others: Minnesota, South Dakota, Kansas, Colorado, and Texas
    • in addition, coincidentally, the nation's total production is on track to be 44% greater than last year (2019)
    • overall planting is up 10% but, again look at this: the yield is 170 pounds higher than last year -- that -- if it holds, that's one pound below the record
      • sunflowers run about 2,000 pounds/acre
    • North Dakota harvest is at 24%; well ahead of 3% last year and well ahead of the five-year 10% average
  • other harvesting updates, for North Dakota:
    • corn is 25% harvested, well ahead of last year's 1% and the five-year 9 percent average
    • soybeans: 83% harvested; well ahead of last year's 14% and the five-year 54% average
    • sugar beets: 92% harvested (compare with Montana, only 22% harvested)
    • potatoes: 95% harvested; well ahead of last year's 54% and the 75% average
    • dry edible beans: 96% harvested; well ahead of 50% last year, and ahead of the five-year 86% average
  • finally: winter wheat planting in ND -- 91% planted, well ahead of last year's dismal 63% last year, and even ahead of the five-year 83% average
Looks like that little bit of global warming is just about right.

For The Archives -- Two More Wins For The President -- October 14, 2020

First: US Supreme Court sides with President Trump on 2020 census: time to stop. Link here

Second: US Supreme Court won't review Democrats' emoluments "case" against Trump.

Streaming Update

Link here. Archived.

This is an incredibly interesting article coming on the heels of Disney announcing a restructuring of it entertainment division and the blog's recent theme regarding Apple signing the icons of Hollywood for new content.

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site.  Do not make any investment, financial, job, career, travel, or relationship decisions based on what you read here or think you may have read here.

COP In Talks To Acquire Concho Resources -- October 14, 2020

Link here at SeekingAlpha, short blurb.

  • COP / CXO: deal, maybe valued at $15 billion (Fitzsimmons, here)
    • back of the envelope: $15 billion / 550,000 net acres = $27,000 / acre
  • CVX / Noble: deal, valued at just under $12 billion

From Bloomberg:

  • CXO with market value of $9.8 billion after news released
  • meanwhile, COP's market value climbed to almost $38 billion
  • CXO: enterprise value of $13.4 billion
  • deal would become the year's largest takeover of an oil and gas company
  • it would likely surpass Chevron's all-stock acquisition of Noble Energy
    • Noble Energy valued at $11.8billion including debt when deal closed in October
  • Reminder: OXY
    • $38 billion purchase of Anadarko Petroleum last year
  • Reminder: merger of Devon Energy and WPX


  • CXO:
    • 800,000 gross acres in the Permian
  • CXO + COP:
    • 1.3 million boepd
    • just shy of crude giant Occidental


  • OXY / Anadarko
  • CVX / Noble Energy
  • Devon Energy / WPX
  • COP / Concho Resources

Running Out Of Fingers And Toes -- Yet Another Start-Up -- October 14, 2020

Link here.

  • UK-based manufacturer: Arrival Ltd
    • BlackRock: $118 million investment
    • investor values the manufacturer at $3.5 billion
    • start-up's existing backers: Hyndai Motor and Kia Motors
      • those three with similar investments
    • UPS also invested; amount unknown
    • niche: electric powered city buses and vans with 300-mile range -- for those really long city commutes
    • Arrival Ltd has orders for 10,000 vans fro UPS in Europe, US through 2024
    • micro factories in Europe and US, including a new facility in right-to-work state South Carolina
    • not yet making money: SPAC merger possible
  • BlackRock: world's largest money manager
    • oversees almost $8 trillion in assets
  • meanwhile, Rivian:
    • vans slated for Amazon
    • Rivian backers
      • BlackRock
      • Ford
      • T Rowe Price Group
      • Soros Fund Management
      • Fidelity Investments

New Energy Vehicle Sales

Mixed globally. Link here.

Tesla in China actually falling behind GM-SAIC-Wuling joint venture and BYD. This, combined with Tesla's announcement after these figures came out that it (Tesla) was cutting prices (again) on its number one sedan, the Model S, suggests that Tesla may be hitting some headwinds.

SAIC in the story above is a Shanghai, China, company, not the US innovator company.

Not That Anyone Cares -- But The OXY-WT Summary Is Incorrect -- October 14, 2020

From Yahoo!Finance:

WTI To Test $40 — Again; One Well Coming Off The Confidential List -- October 14, 2020

Graphic of the week?

COP / Concho Resources in talks. Link here.

US shale production to drop
: will drop to 7.7 million bpd, down about 123,000 bpd; link here.
third consecutive month of declines
biggest decline forecast for Eagle Ford; to drop about 34,000 bpd about 1.0 million bpd, the lowest since May, 2013;
Permian: expected to drop about 17,000 bpd to 4.4 million bpd

Why operators like shale: one word -- flexible. Link here to S&P Global Platts.

  • Chevron CEO Mike Wirth: doesn't see US getting back to record highs of 13 million bpd in the "next couple of years;
  • reminded investors of Chevron's purchase of Noble Energy with its mideast footprint in Israel
  • cutting CAPEX but growing the company with shale:

Wirth said shale had fundamentally reset Chevron's financial framework, noting the company had cut its annual capital expenditure from $40 billion in 2014 -- with no growth in the company -- to $20 billion going into the latest crisis in markets, and now closer to $12 billion, with the company on a growth path.

  • short-cycle:
"From $40 billion to $12 billion a year [shows] incredible flexibility on capital, lower capital intensity, and we've got the ability to adjust our program to meet market conditions on a much more contemporaneous cycle," Wirth said.


"We found ourselves in the last decade with many multibillion-dollar, multiyear investments which were hard, challenging, and the industry's experience broadly was not good," Wirth said.

"We'll always have room for some of these large, long-cycle projects," he said, noting the challenges of an expansion project at the Chevron-led Tengiz field in Kazakhstan, which has been hit by cost rises and coronavirus outbreaks. Deepwater projects in the Gulf of Mexico that could be tied into existing infrastructure would also remain attractive, but stand-alone "greenfield" projects less so, Wirth said.

OPEC basket, link here: $40.57.

Another price war? Link here. What's the definition of insanity .. doing something over and over and over and expecting a different result. 

Is US shale bouncing back? Link to David Messler.

Back to the BakkenIs US Shale 

Active rigs:

Active Rigs1458675931
One well coming off the confidential list today --  Wednesday, October 14, 2020: 17 for the month; 17 for the quarter, 682 for the year
  • 36668, drl/A, Hess, TI-Ives-157-94-0601H-6, Tioga, t--; cum 53K 8/20;

RBN Energy: outlook for oil, gas, NGL supply / demand, and prices. 

Six months on from the height of the crude oil price rout of April 2020 and the unprecedented market convulsions that followed, energy markets appear to be settling into a state of hyper-uncertainty amidst the ongoing pandemic. Crude oil prices have been downright equanimous, stabilizing near $40/bbl in recent months. Volatility has reigned in the gas market, but it has thus far managed to avoid a major collapse, and the NGLs market has dodged a complete derailment from norms, if barely.

The relative calm provides the perfect opportunity to assess how COVID-era energy markets are operating and what lies ahead — which is what we’ll be doing next week at RBN’s Virtual School of Energy. There’s a new order taking shape, and we’re rolling out RBN’s freshly updated outlooks for U.S. crude oil, natural gas and NGL markets. As always, we’ll pull back the curtain on the fundamental analysis and models behind our forecasts, so you can understand how we arrived at our answers, and gain the skills and tools to adjust the assumptions as markets evolve. As you’ve gathered by now, today’s blog is an unabashed advertorial for our virtual conference, but read on if you’d like to hear more about the underlying premise behind our latest outlook.

Since then? Not much has changed.

Notes From All Over -- Fire Sales And Chariots On Fire -- October 14, 2020

Literally on fire, and figuratively -- fire-sales!

First the fire sale:

Ford just announced it was cutting the price of its electric Mustang  because "it's the right thing to do." 

And now, Tesla, doing the same: look at these data points -- wow:

  • Tesla's top selling model: the Model S
  • sales have dropped by half since 2018 -- getting long in the tooth, as they say
  • Tesla announced a price cut to the tune of $3,000 -- this is their flagship sedan!
  • this is on top of a $5,000 price drop in May

My first thought, "Wow! What a great bargain. A $35,00 now $8,000 cheaper."

Whoa! Hold on. I did not know the Model S Long Range Plus starts at $71,990! Are you kidding me. Starts at $71,990! Wow, I completely missed that. 

Chariots on Fire -- Again
It's A Pandemic

Three reports of fires that began under the rear seat while the cars were parked and unattended.

Under review: 78,000 Chevy Bolts made by GM from 2017 through 2020. Isn't this like the entire production -- 2017 through 2020?

Notes From All Over -- AMC Vs Blackrock -- October 14, 2020

Yahoo!Finance morning brief: BlackRock sees a bright future for office workers everywhere. 

“I think the biggest lesson learned obviously was that we were able to very quickly migrate from 16,000 people in 60 offices to 16,000 people and 16,000 offices,” Sheldin said. “I think that as it relates to the broader pandemic, I mean, I think that we have seen frankly an acceleration in almost every single strategic trend that we were guiding the business towards pre-pandemic, post-pandemic.” ‌ 
CEO Larry Fink took what Shedlin said further and highlighted the fact that working from home wasn’t materially disruptive to their operations at all. And from there, Fink offered a vision of a better world where companies with a lot of office workers continue to embrace this new reality in the post-COVID world.

So, BlackRock sees this as a positive.

Meanwhile, over at AMC (and Hollywood is watching closely): theater chain AMC says it could run out of cash before the end of the year. Earlier, Regal.

Time to get out a book. 

Recession? What Recession? Economy Must Be Booming To Look At Lego -- October 14, 2020

Link here, page eight of Lego's new offers.


Chinese Flu -- Focus On Toole County, MT-- New Cases Surge -- October 14, 2020

Coronavirus tracker at The WSJ: link here. Interactive. Lots of fun when nothing else to do.

  • Toole County, Montana (Shelby, MT): at 395 new cases per 100,000 this county may have the most number of new cases by far across the entire US. To compare:
    • Williams County, ND: 88
    • McKenzie County, ND: 72
    • Logan County, KS: 199

Closer look at Toole County, MT, link here:

  • surge in past two weeks:
    • September 26, 2020: 76 new cases
    • October 12, 2020: 273 new cases
  • deaths:
    • total: 6 deaths total
    • last reported Covid-associated death: April 23, 2020

Toole County, MT, may become the first county in the entire US to reach herd immunity.

At the blog, the 2020 Chinese flu pandemic is tracked here -- also placed as a link at bottom of the sidebar at the right.