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Monday May 4, 2020   
The time has come to where the human mind is getting restless as many individuals are protesting at City Hall or the capital to get the economy back on its feet.  All this is going on during a time that researchers from all over the world are working endless hours to try and find a cure for the coronavirus.  We still have doctors and nurses tending to individuals who are getting sick weeks later, food processing plants througout the Midwest are closed as outbreaks have been reported and stats still show new hot spots showing up in cities once thought to be immune.  There are some positives that are showing up on the radar as our local grocery store is not mandating that anyone entering the store must be wearing a mask.  This gives me more comfort shopping for the items ... » read more
Friday May 1, 2020   
The month of April is in the rearview mirror and what a month as we now understand what social distancing means, how bad one's internet service really is and how the phone network system when pushed to the test does not perform.  When it comes to social distancing, the manner to which we deal with it is like anything else, we have to get used to it and then act accordingly.  For example, early in the month we would go for a walk and as when anyone saw each other it was like parting the Red Sea with no eye contact.  Everyone got out of the way and the speed to which they passed picked up to keep the space.  Now, four weeks later, it is more cordial where there are three lanes on every street.  The first two are your typical sidewalk where the third is the ... » read more
Thursday Apr 30, 2020   
The commodity markets have always had volatility as that is the nature of the business given it is tied to weather, economic growth and technology advancements.  For those of us who have been in the industry for decades, the movement is cyclical in a way that there is always something driving the oil and/or natural gas markets to the brink of no ceiling or a new floor that has never been seen before.  You can go back to the mid/late 90's when the Rockies Natural Gas basin was one of the most traded hubs at every company as the supply/demand balance swung from having open pipeline capacity to no place for the molecules to go.  As we moved into the new decade, the .Com crash moved markets to new lows while the 2005-2007 time period saw the Rockies Express Pipeline change the ... » read more
Wednesday Apr 29, 2020   
The month of April has come and gone with many of us balancing the work at home act with the full-time job of home schooling the kids as they forge ahead with online classes.  As we look ahead to the month of May, there are still a lot of unknowns as the conversations are tied to the economic recovery at the state level, what social distancing looks like and how will the virus react to essential businesses getting back into the swing of things.  The one thing that is somewhat normal during this chaos is the Pacific Norhwest Hydro runoff season as the month of May typically gets warm enough to start having the middle to upper elevation snowpack make its way down the mountains and into the river basins. The two key basins that we monitor in our Pacific Northwest Hydro Package ... » read more
Tuesday Apr 28, 2020   
Crude prices continue to be under pressure thanks to the ongoing quarantine efforts and the mounting tanker inventory on the world's oceans. It is assumed that the lower 48 crude storage inventory will be full, including the Strategic Petroleum Reserve some time prior to this summer. The SPR resides along the US Gulf Coast. Most of the caverns are salt formations that have been created for the purpose of holding the crude oil as an emergency stockpile. There are a number of caverns in the region that are also dedicated to holding natural gas inventory. The EIA reports this storage every Thursday morning. In the past three reports the NG salt storage stocks have climbed by 45 BCF taking the total amount to 301 BCF. With injections continuing at that current pace it is very feasible to have ... » read more
Monday Apr 27, 2020   
While driving to our office yesterday morning, something caught my eye that put the current status of our economy into perspective.  As I was pulling through the intersection of Clinton Street and 26th Avenue, the storefront diner that once was a vibrant breakfast spot in Portland, OR was not only empty from the stay-in-place mandate but it was bare as the tables and chairs were gone and all that could be seen was a stack of cardboard boxes sitting in the corner.  The owners of the business went as far as taking the company's name off the glass windows indicating that the show was over for good. Figure 1 | Off the Waffle - Closed This is just another indication of how the world is changing 'not before our eyes' as we are still actively adhering to the stay-in-place mandates by ... » read more
Friday Apr 24, 2020   
The old saying of April showers brings May flowers hits close to home this year compared to others in the recent past.  The meaning behind the words are two fold with the first tied to Mother Nature and the evolution of growth as April tends to be one of the rainiest months in the calendar season.  As the April calendar days give way to the month of May, Mother Nature changes course by providing plenty of sunshine to which flowers bloom because of the water provided to them for the past 30 days.  The second meaning is the one that stands out as the world continues to dig itself out of the recent pandemic that has impacted the daily livelihood of many, it is a period of time that delivers discomfort but provides a basis for happiness and joy to return to the surface. Figure ... » read more
Thursday Apr 23, 2020   
Last week we sent out an article tied to how wind curtailments were playing out in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) as the power profile was being impacted by the stay-in-place mandates throughout the country.  The storyline is simple as on big wind days, the exposure to curtailments increases to a point that wind generation operators are getting accustom to feathering the turbines for a period of time.  Coming to week's end, we thought it would be appropriate to take a sneak peak at how the last four days have played out on a grid that has more wind capacity to its power demand than any other region in the country. Starting with the actual wind generation, we have seen lower output across the entire day with the hour range in a pretty tight band on the 20th with the 19th and 21st ... » read more
Wednesday Apr 22, 2020   
Without actual sports in many of our lives, we have to turn to cable television to get out fix as the National Football League (NFL) is going to operate its college draft virtually with every team tapped into some sort of video conference mechanism and a board room displaying social distancing if choosing to congregate within a space with less than 10 people.  ESPN has done a great job advertising the 1997-1998 final season of the Chicago Bulls championship run as it was publically noted prior to the start it would be the final season for their head coach, Michael Jordan said he did not want to play for another coach (even though he did with the Washington Wizards) and Scottie Pippen was in the last year of his 7 year $18 million dollar contract.  Throw in the fact that Dennis ... » read more
Tuesday Apr 21, 2020   
This year has been like no other in the commodity markets. The failure of the OPEC-Russia quota agreement to the lock down effects of the coronavirus pandemic have put the foot down on crude oil prices and there is no indication that the malaise is going to stop any time soon. Yesterday's price action in the WTI crude market was one for the ages. Never before have we seen such a squeeze in the market where prices were forced to drop all the way down to minus $38. This was clearly an issue of a few contract holders not being able to acquire storage capacity for physical delivery. Without a home for the physical product at or around the Cushing storage field they were forced to sell instead of incur liquidated damages costs. The selling has not ended either. In pre market action this ... » read more
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