Sunday, May 30, 2021

Covid-19 Update -- May 30, 2021

Link here.

The Sunday report: vaccinations continue to drop precipitously.

  • Today's report: 1,223,790 vaccinations given in past 24 hours;
  • Last Sunday: 1,779,363 vaccinations given in same time period.
  • Previous Sunday, May 16, 2021: 2,712,865 vaccinations given.
  • Prior to that, Sunday, May 9, 2021: 2,369,784 vaccinations given.

1,223,790 / 2,369,784 = 52%. Exactly what the LA Times reported today. 

Why Biden Approved ConocoPhillips' Willow Field In Alaska: It's All About Securing The TAPS -- Fitzsimmons -- SeekingAlpha -- May 30, 2021

Link here

  • Some investors were highly surprised when President Biden's Justice Department supported the continued development of Conoco's massive Willow field in Alaska.
  • I was not. As I wrote earlier on Seeking Alpha, ironically Biden could be great for Conoco Phillips' stock.
  • One thing is clear: Biden is an energy pragmatist. He wants to see the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline flowing because it is an issue of national security.
  • And the Alaskan Pipeline needs new oil to keep it operating.
  • One could also argue that 100,000 bpd from a conventional reservoir like Willow is much more environmentally friendly than the equivalent number of shale wells.


Amazon TV Stick

Every day I move a bit closer to catching up with our daughters and grandchildren when it comes to technology.

Our younger daughter has had the Amazon Fire TV Stick for quite some time and loves it. 

A few months ago I ordered an Amazon Fire TV Stick. Amazon was upgrading their fire stick at the time and I was put on the "wait list."

I forgot all about it. 

This past week while I was out of town the Fire Stick arrived. 

I set it up this afternoon. Wow, was installation easy. I was very careful to follow instructions (there weren't many) and within minutes it was set up and running. The only reason it took "minutes" was because it downloaded a bit of software. 

I was blown away by how easy it was to set up and I'm blown away by how incredible it is to have "cable" television once again. 

Amazon Prime Video is part of the Amazon Prime package. Starting this year I will be able to watch Thursday Night Football. 

In addition, Pluto TV: free. 

And finally, Hulu.

For all of that, I'm paying about a third of what I was paying Spectrum for 20th century television. 

Break, break.

As I begin to learn more about this, it certainly suggests that with the Fire TV Stick is to television streaming as Apple was to iTunes in the early days. If that makes sense. 

But, it's very clear that Amazon / Fire TV Stick is huge. I still maintain that Apple TV+ is not keeping up with Amazon. I'm way ahead of my headlights here, just rambling but it appears that Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, are simply "content" / streaming companies. 

Amazon, with Prime Video, and the Fire TV Stick, is both a software (streaming/content) company as well as a hardware device. 

I don't know if this makes sense to anyone; I'm learning as I go along. We now get PBS.

The "one thing" we could not "get" on Hulu / Amazon Fire TV Stick was PBS. That was my wife's only complaint.

It turns out that one can get PBS via one's local network on the Fire Stick.

It is amazing how three devices interacted to make this all possible:

  • a "dumb" Smart TV (Philips) bought several years ago;
  • an Amazon Fire TV Stick (most recent update);
  • an Apple MacBook Air (an internet connection required to input "activation codes").

Ten years from now will Amazon have an ecosystem that is better than Apple's? I'm beginning to wonder.

Shell To Pemex: You Want It? It's All Yours -- May 30, 2021

Firster things firster: history was made. Hélio Castroneves is a four-time winner. Forty-six years old! Joins A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, and Rick Mears. Previous Indy wins for Coastroneves: 2001, 2002, and 2009, over ten years ago. Tom Brady, Phil Mickelson, and, now, Hélio Castroneves.

First things first: Indy 500 -- lap 93 of 200,

  • the two favorites, Dixon, Rossi: both are down one lap, both Dixon and Rossi had problems during an emergency fuel pit stop; one if neither team could get its car started after refuelig after running out of fuel;
  • Rossi was favorite to win;
  • "USAF" car leading the field!
  • Danica Patrick providing commentary for NBC; along with Mike Tirico;

Pemex: Deer Park


June 5, 2021: Pemex plans for Deer Park unlikely to work. And from ArgusMedia.

Original Post

Deer Park, Houston, TX, refinery: 50-50 joint venture between Shell and Pemex.

  • Fast forward, to May 24, 2021: Shell accepts unsolicited offer from Pemex for Deer Park. Link at World Oil. Deal:
    • $596 million, cash and debt;
    • Shell will retain its on-site chemical facility

Now, back to racing and the USAF. From indycar:

U.S. Air Force and Conor Daly will remain with Ed Carpenter Racing for the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.

Daly will continue to drive ECR's No. 20 Chevrolet for the 13 road and street course events, 10 of which will carry the colors of the U.S. Air Force. For the four oval events, Daly will hand the No. 20 back over to team owner Ed Carpenter. Additionally, Daly will race a U.S. Air Force Chevrolet for ECR in the Indianapolis 500.

The 10 races where the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet will be on track are set to be announced at a later date, as will the primary partner for Daly's three other races.

"It feels incredible to have another year together with the U.S. Air Force and Ed Carpenter Racing," Daly said. "Continuity has always been helpful for me in my career; the fact that we are able to hit the ground running in 2021 already having experience together gives me a lot of confidence. Every day we learn more and develop a stronger relationship.

Daly and ECR continue to work alongside the U.S. Air Force to use the NTT INDYCAR SERIES to inspire young adults, communicate the service’s mission and build awareness about career opportunities.

Somewhat Unremarkable MRO Well Back On Line -- May 30, 2021

The well:

  • 18236, 679, MRO, Paulson 44-9H, Bailey, t11/09; cum 236K 3/21; off line nine months; back on line 7/20 with nice "recovery." 

Recent production:

PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare

Production before it went off line:


Armstrong's Gruman Lodgepole Well Has Just Gone Over One Million Bbls Crude Oil Cumulative -- May 30, 2021

Never flared any natural gas. Still flowing without a pump. Drilled back in 2010 right during the height of the Bakken boom. Unitized spacing. Total depth: 9,802 feet. Directional. Located barely a mile outside of Dickinson city limits on the southwest side. As recently as last summer, 7,000 bbls per month.

The well:

  • 18496, 474, Armstrong Operating, Gruman 18-3, Patterson Lake, target: Lodgepole, F, t3/10; cum 1.011116 million bbls crude oil 3/21;

Recent production profile;

PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare

Initial production:


Notes From All Over -- The Delayed Sunday Edition -- May 30, 2021

Indy 500: 135,000 sellout crowd expected. Largest unmasked crowd to date? I think the first major unmasked sports event coming out of the pandemic was the PGA Championship, won by Phil Mickelson. Later: history is made. Four-time winner Castroneves.

Rewards: lotteries and prizes for doing the right thing -- getting the vaccine -- seems to be inappropriate.  From The Los Angeles Times this week:

... the number of vaccines administered each day in Los Angeles has dropped by almost 50% from its high in April.

In Long Beach, they’re trying to counter amorphous (sic) resistance by giving newly vaccinated people free tickets to the Aquarium of the Pacific and a chance to win a Nintendo Switch gaming console — a ploy intended to persuade unvaccinated young men to roll up their sleeves. 
In Los Angeles, those getting vaccinated have a chance to win Lakers season tickets. 
In Cleveland, dropping your resistance to the vaccine can make you a millionaire. The state of Ohio is using federal coronavirus relief funds to pay for five weekly lotteries that will each net one newly vaccinated winner a million-dollar prize. 
And California announced on Thursday [May 27, 2021] a grab bag of incentives, including grocery gift cards to those who complete their inoculations, and the chance for 10 vaccinated residents to win $1.5 million apiece.

Andy Serwer: his morning brief over at Yahoo!Finance is one of the better business / finance columns out there. I don't link it or read it every day, but more often than not, the column has impressed me. Most recently: the bull market in news is over. Now what?

G. E. Smith: who knew? At YouTube.

Estate planning: this may be the best thing I read this past week

In case you can't get past the paywall, this is the loophole, and it's a big one:

The owner of each 529 account, usually parents or grandparents, must designate a single beneficiary. But they can easily move money between beneficiaries as long as they are in the same family.

“It is absolutely a loophole,” says Leo Marte, a Huntersville, N.C., financial advisor. “You can move money across generations without taxes as long as you don’t hit gift tax exclusions.”


Creating a lasting education fund for your family. Former fighter pilot Brian O’Neill of Niceville, FL, retired from the Air Force last year as a colonel. 
He and his wife managed to save more than $500,000 in 529 accounts funded by military pilot bonuses, regular annual contributions, and gifts from relatives. 
He has a daughter going to college in 2022, but she probably won’t touch the 529 plan money. 
Her college may be paid by GI Bill benefits, which O’Neill has the right to pass on to his child, or she may tap a Florida scholarship if she goes to a state school. He has a second daughter, but he thinks she’ll end up spending only a small portion of the money.

And it's fairly hard for most Americans to the gift tax exclusions:

You can contribute up to $15,000 (the annual gift tax limit) per beneficiary per year to a 529 plan. However, the law permits each account owner to pay up to five years’ contribution upfront without triggering gift taxes. That means a couple between them can contribute up to $150,000 per beneficiary in one fell swoop. And they can do it for multiple people.

“There’s no limit on the number of 529s you can have,” says Stephanie Trexler, a Grand Rapids, Mich., financial advisor. “If you have 10 grandchildren, you can open a 529 account for each grandchild.”