Mark: Hey, folks let’s learn something new about the oil and gas industry.
All right. Today, we’re in beautiful Magnolia, Texas and I am in a part of Magnolia, Texas I didn’t even know existed. And, Chris, we’re actually in your house today, aren’t we?
Chris: We are. We sure are. We’re in High Meadow Ranch.
Mark: High Meadow Ranch. It’s beautiful out here. We actually saw a deer in the middle of the day walking down the side of the road.
Chris: Yeah. They’re all over the place. Wait ‘til night, they really come out.
Mark: Oh, I bet. And, we’re not just sitting here with Chris, we’re actually sitting here with Wendy.
How are you doing, Wendy?
Wendy: I’m doing great. Thank you.
Mark: Yeah. Y’all have something really exciting going on. Now, if you’ve watched this for any length of time you pay attention to the podcast, you know I have a love affair for the intersection of oil and gas and technology. And y’all are actually kicking off your first inaugural event, aren’t you?
Chris: We are. Yeah, on June 28thwe’re having our first event IDT Expo and we’ll bring in together technology companies, operators – oil and gas operators, and then investors.
Wendy: Yeah. And so, if you’re in that world, if you want to see what that looks like, if you want to do something that’s new that’s refreshing, you need to come to this. And, I don’t care if you’re on the upstream side of the house, the midstream side of the house, downstream side of the house, you need to understand what’s going on in the investing world and with technology because this technology revolution is coming out of our industry like a freight train, we can’t stop it, but it’s great.
Now, Wendy, I’ve got a question for you. This is your first time that you’re doing this, so you’re a little worried about all the pieces coming together at the same time?
Wendy: Well, this is the first time we’re doing the IDT Expo. Chris and I had actually done these sorts of events in our previous career, so I’m not a newbie to this one, but this is bigger and better than we’ve ever done. So, that’s the exciting part and we’re reaching out to a wider audience now
Mark: Yeah. And so, y’all are going to have operators, technology vendors, and investment folks all in the same place at the same time?
Wendy: That is correct. Yes. And we will be hosting technology companies who are the prime sponsors of our event. So, it’s a great opportunity for the operators and the investors to come to meet up with the technology companies to find out what they’re working on, what’s happening in their world and the whole idea is to connect them bring them all together to start the conversation.
Mark: Yeah. And this is awesome. And let me tell you, you know what makes this really awesome? You would easily pay a thousand, fifteen hundred, two thousand dollars to this. Chris, how much is it again?
Mark: You heard that right. Zero. We’re going to be there as press. If you come, reach out to us, hit us up on Twitter, we’d love to chat with you. I can’t wait to see this thing get kickoff. Go. We’re going to put a link in the show notes.
Chris, if people want to learn more, where should they go?
Chris: They go to www.idtexpo.com.
Mark: Yeah. We’ll put a link in the show notes. Like I said you go click up, go sign up now because it’s going to fill up fast.
Wendy, are you still looking for any sponsors?
Wendy: Yes, we are. We do have positions that are still available. If you are interested in participating with this, again, go to our website, IDTExpo.com. You can connect with me there and I’ll be more than glad to give you the information needed to be a part of what’s happening.
Mark: Go sponsor now. This is going to be awesome.
Chris, Wendy, thank you so much for your time today.
Chris: Okay. Thanks a lot, John, I appreciate it.
Mark: Yeah, except it’s Mark.
Mark: Folks, I hope this helped. We will see you next time.
Mark: Hey, folks let’s learn something new about the oil and gas industry.
All right. You hear me tell this crazy story all the time about how me and my guest in this case, Nick, can’t get in the same city at the same time. This was even crazier. Him and I were actually in the same city, we’re both in Houston last – was it last week?
Nick: It was last week, Mark.
Mark: At OTC, but we couldn’t get this done. So, you’re back in Canada, right? I’m back in Richmond and we’re doing this via Skype because Nick has a really awesome show. In fact, I’d like to call it the OTC of Canada coming out.
And what’s the name of the show, Nick?
Nick: That is the – it is the Global Petroleum Show. And we’re very proud to be celebrating our fiftieth anniversary. 1968, the show was founded. And these fifty years is very exciting for us not just for where we’ve come to, but also looking forward ahead to the next fifty years.
Nick: So, we’ve got lots of new and exciting things that are – that are happening this year up in Calgary.
Mark: And, Nick, when is the show?
Nick: So, the show is June 12th-14thand it’s at the Calgary – the very famous Calgary Stampede fairgrounds and the BMO Center which is the very large and modern exhibition and conference center that’s located right on the grounds.
Mark: So, if – so there’s still time for vendors and exhibitors to sign up and be able to get in front of all these upstream operators?
Nick: Well, I got to tell you, I mean we have had – there’s still time for vendors, that’s a really good question. So, we’re 90% sold out, that includes both the indoor and the outdoor space. We’re probably adding – this is a really busy time for us. We’re adding ten to twenty new exhibitors a week right now.
Nick: So, we are adding and we’ve generated a tremendous amount of interest not just from here North America, but we get exhibitors coming to the show from more than fifty countries.
Mark: Yeah. And then, as attendee what is cool is I literally get to walk into a building. Literally, I get to walk from the hotel to the building and everybody is there at – so I can go talk to multiple people from different countries all in oil and gas industry in one place at one time.
Nick: Yeah. I mean it’s really a dynamic show floor and a meeting place. You know it is one of North America’s most significant events and it happens to take place obviously in the great energy hub here in Calgary. But, you know getting national oil companies obviously lots of independent oil companies participating, all the big service companies, technology companies.
In fact, we have more than one thousand companies represented on the show floor and exhibitors alone and that doesn’t count all those other great participants that are, you know, obviously participating in the other activities like the conference and so on.
Mark: Yeah. And so, if you’re out there if you’re in the oil and gas industry, if you’re looking to learn about the oil and gas industry and definitely if you’re in sales and/or marketing, you need to be there.
Now, Nick, you are kind enough to invites us as press, so we’re going to try to get up there. We have some conflicts. I’m not sure which one of us if any is going up there, but we definitely want to go to the show. This is one of the premiere events in the world.
Nick, if people wanted to learn more and sign up, where should they go?
Nick: You’d want to just go to the – to GlobalPetroleumShow.com. That website has everything you need. And, Mark, we very much are looking forward to having someone from your team come up and if not, we’re going to have obviously lots of coverage. We’ve got tons of media coming, in fact, it’s unprecedented this year. It’s a whole week of activities. I mean you’ve got an awards gala that’s kicking off on the Tuesday night of the events. That’s going to be four to six hundred people recognizing the best in innovation. We have award recipients from all across North America and internationally as well and that’s in its third year, so very successful program.
On day two, of course you’ve got the exhibition that’s happening and then we have our fiftieth anniversary celebration concert. It’s going to be a fantastic event. And we expect three to four thousand people there. Registration is going through the roof on that one. Really, really exciting.
Over and above that, you know we’ve got programs like Country Markets that brings together over twenty different countries that are going to be presenting oil and gas opportunities and international investment opportunities from different oil markets all around the globe.
And of course, you know that being part of DMG events, the Global Petroleum Show is connected with the world’s largest oil and gas exhibition which ADIPEC in Abu Dhabi and our famous Gastech event which we just announced our launch of course is coming to Houston in 2019. So, we’ve got the benefit of more than fifty energy events and attendees that we reach out to a market for this event. So, it makes a really, really dynamic not just show floor, but so many other elements. As you know I could go on and on, but, yes, it’s GlobalPetroleumShow.com.
And, most definitely if you can make it up, it’s I think you’ll find it a very worthwhile and fun experience as well. There’s lots of great stuff happening there.
Mark: Yeah. So, folks go. Hit me up on Twitter if you go. I’d love to come meet you in person. We’re going to get somebody up there no matter what. Hopefully, it’s me.
Nick, I really appreciate this. We’ll put a link in the show notes, so people you can just click on that link and go straight to the website.
Nick, thank you so much for your time today.
Nick: All right. Great to talk to you again, Mark. We’ll see you soon. Take care.
Mark: That’s awesome.
Nick: All right.
Mark: So, folks I hope this helped. We will see you next time.
Click here to learn more about Totaland and to contact CCG Logistics call (337) 257-5739
Mark: Hey, folks let’s learn something new about the oil and gas industry.
All right. We’re sitting here in beautiful Lafayette, Louisiana and we’re going to get some boudin after this. If you don’t know what boudin is, ping me after the show, I’ll let you know.
We’re sitting here at TotaLand and we actually have some guests that actually don’t work for TotaLand. So, we have Kirk and Jarrell.
How are you doing, Jarrell?
Gerald: Pretty good. How are you?
Mark: Very good. And, what is your company?
Gerald: My company is CCG Logistics. We are a full service land oil and gas company.
Mark: And then, from what I heard, y’all actually use TotaLand’s tool and you use TotaLand’s tool why?
Gerald: Well, honestly we looked at a few different companies and a few different products – software products and we started off using them about five years ago in an oil and gas industry in the lease acquisition project that we started. And I personally just find that they’re one of the best companies out there as far a customer service, as far as usability of the actual product itself. I mean it’s very functional from somebody who absolutely knows everything about mapping to somebody who’s just a novice data entry person, it’s all user-friendly and that’s, I mean why we really use it.
Mark: Yeah. And so, y’all are out there basically doing a lot of brokering out there. So, if you have – if you have companies out there that are looking to acquire assets, they would ping you all and you would help them pick whatever assets they wanted to find?
Gerald: Correct. That is correct that is what we do. We do full title research, full abstracting lease acquisition, fee title, just about any – anything that you can think of, we can do it.
Mark: Yeah. So, Kirk, I got to ask you. When you’re using their tool, does it make your job easier?
Kirk: It does. It does. If you can get your agents to be proficient, you can really get some good work put out. And what I would like to see in TotaLand which helps me talk to the client is the mapping. You can give them all the words you want to give them all the reports, but the mapping is where it starts and that’s how the conversation keeps moving along.
And the development of the mapping and how you could as we know as Chris knows you can develop that as deep as you want to go, but the usability there the collaboration with the agents here in TotaLand that makes that process smooth and at the end of the day get our reports out get our e-mail transmittals out and keep the ball rolling.
Mark: Yeah. So, if you’re looking for some help with some assets, this is the company to reach – to reach out to. So, folks we’ll put a phone number in the show notes, so you can actually ping if you need some help there.
So, Alan, you know what I think is cool with this? You have real clients here talking about your stuff while they’re in front of you.
Alan: You know and also I think they’re really being honest, right? So, you know what’s neat is that, you know, CCG is a company that they engage with us. You know often you have customers or clients and they don’t often talk to you, you know if ideas or brainstorming sessions whatever. You guys are great because you connect with us and you talk about your needs specifically.
And, one thing that we pride ourselves on is being responsive you know, so when our clients have a problem, we’re on it my team knows that. It’s like we want to make sure that our customers are taken care of. And your interaction with us has been just fantastic.
So, they talked about who our best local clients, you know, we have some, you guys are right there at the top. And so, we appreciate it.
Mark: Yeah. So, the cool thing is before we started – before we turned the video camera, we actually had lunch actually prepared by one of your people and honestly and I’m a pulled-pork aficionado, the best pulled-pork I’ve ever had.
But, Alan, you’ll take some donations and you’ll help people out with that, don’t you?
Alan: Yeah, we did. A few years ago, we decided as a team to get together and just we heard about people that have needs, right? Everybody does whether it’s a medical problem some people are going through cancer or their house fire. We had all kinds of different circumstances, but you know we saw the need in the community and we said, you know why not try to do something – something you know to help these people out.
And so, a few years ago we started the community luncheon. And, again, just a, you know, once a – once a month we kind of kept that rhythm of once a month and the names kept coming you know. So, we had – I can’t tell you how many people we’ve actually been involved and just trying to make a little difference in their life, you know not making a major difference, but you know we serve sixty, seventy meals you know over lunch and collect donations. And all of it goes to them every bit of it, so.
Mark: Yeah. And what’s so cool about this is here’s a company you’re out to make money, right? You have employees you have to support, you have customers you have to support, but you’re giving back, right? Nobody ask you to do that. We love that.
Speaking of giving back, we have an event coming up. I think it’s called NAPE, right?
Alan: So, it’s the big event to a year that we go to and NAPE is awesome. I mean it’s one of those events that, you know, everybody goes to you know. So, you’re able to as, you know, someone coming to the event, you know, looking around at different products or talking to different people. It’s an event where you get to see everything on the floor you know everything from exploration to software. And so, it’s a unique event you know that’s over the years have grown.
If you see a graph of NAPE attendance, man, it started out pretty small many years ago. And you just see that curve continue to go up. Now, we hit that rough spot, right? You know a few years ago, but that’s really stabilizes. Last NAPE we had was a great attendance. I mean the energy was there, the excitement was there on the floor. And it’s just a great event to attend.
Mark: Yeah. North American Prospect Expo, the thing I love the most about it is everybody that goes there is going there to buy something or to sell something and the energy is to the roof.
So, NAPE is coming up, I will put some dates and some links in the show notes. But, if you’re going and you should go, if you’re in that upstream world at all, you need to be at NAPE. Go check out TotaLand’s booth. We’ll put a link in the show notes to give you the actual booth number.
But, Kirk and Gerald, and Alan, and Chris you didn’t say much, but I want to thank all of you. We spent [Laughs]we spent a few minutes on microphone, a few minutes on shooting some video here, but you told a great story. So, folks reach out to them if you need some help with some properties. Go talk to TotaLand if you’re in that layman’s world, you need to look at their product. And we’ll be at NAPE as well as press, so we’ll see you all there.
Everybody, I want to thank you very much for your time.
Alan: Thank you, Mark. I appreciate you coming today, man. Thank you.
Mark: Yeah. And so, folks I hope this helped. We will see you next time.
Mark: Hey, folks let’s learn something new about the oil and gas industry.
All right. Today, we have Rhod Mackenzie with Rusmininfo on. If you’ve been a listener to the show any particular time, you know that Rhod and I do this every couple of months.
We actually recorded one about a month-and-a-half ago that unfortunately, Rhod, we lost. I’d like to blame it on some tech – technological problem. It just the file got handed off to be edited and somebody deleted something and just disappeared. So, it’s been a little while since we had Rhod on the show.
But, Rhod, great to have you back on the show. Here’s the deal, what is going on this damn sanctions and the conflict between the US and Russia?
Rhod: Well, I think you have to examine the cause before we actually look at the effect. Sanctions really started against Russia in 2014 after what Stratfor which is the private arm of the CIA called the most blatant coup in history and Russia decided that it was not going to stand for that and allowed the Crimea to rejoin it which had been part of Russia and the Russian Empire since 1783. That was then called an illegal acts under international law despite the fact that 90% of the people in the Crimea wanted to join Russia.
We then had the shooting down of the Ukrainian — over the Ukraine of the airline the Malaysian one MH17 which John Kelly then went on television – British television program and said, “We know who did it and we have the evidence.” Four years on – it will be four years in June, no evidence has been produced. So, Russia has been blamed for pretty much anything and everything including the presidential elections.
So, sanctions have kept on being ramped up and ramped up and Russia has just put up with it and adapted. And I think the most important thing is sanctions have had an effect the past three years, they had quite a dramatic effect on the GDP which went down by several percentage points, etc, but currently it is coming back.
Mark: Yeah. And so, this is one of the things I have an issue with with this current political climate. Our news media here and Europe as well is, you know, always report the truth, they report the stuff that is sensationalized or they report stuff that gets people’s emotions involved, but not always the truth.
So, you know I did four years of Marine Corps during the Cold War during the former Soviet Union. Once that was over, Russia and the US made really, really great allies. If you think all the way back to history to WWII, we would have not won WWII without the help of Russia, right?
And so, one the things that really bothers me about this current political climate is the fact that Russia in some ways have been kind of pushed to form alliances with OPEC, right? And that bugs the bejeebies out of me. I would much rather Russia and the US be allies in this whole energy world than Russia and OPEC.
And Russia is the top producer of oil and gas in the world right now. We’re chasing y’all, we’re getting close. But you know when you’re that much of the world’s economy that much of the prosperity because you can’t have – you can’t bring a country out of poverty out of an agricultural society without cheap abundant reliable energy and Russia supplies a lot of that to the world. Before we turn on the camera, you and I were actually talking about coal. I didn’t know that Russia was the largest exporter of coal in the world.
Rhod: Yeah. I mean it’s the largest exporter of quite a number of things. Obviously natural gas mainly pipeline gas is aiming to take 20% of the LNG market in the very near future with a number of projects currently up and running.
But, yeah, you’re absolutely right. Russia just wants to be a reliable partner.
Mark: Yeah. And so, if anybody is just first time they’ve never heard you and I talk before, you don’t sound like you’re Russian?
Rhod: No. I’m originally from Scotland, but I’ve actually lived in Russia for twenty seven years.
Mark: Yeah. And so, you have actually just a quick plug in. You have fascinating business where you gather the data around the projects the infrastructure projects whether oil and gas, mining whatever. And, if companies want to do business in Russia they can reach out to you, get the information about these projects so they can actually build the source and stuff. It’s really cool idea.
Rhod: Yeah. I have clients in all parts of the world. I even have Russian clients, so.
Mark: That’s funny. So, you actually – I didn’t know this. So you actually have Russian clients that want access to your data on the Russian projects?
Rhod: Yeah. I mean basically they want to know what the West is knowing.
Mark: Oh, no, I get it. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, if I was like an EPC an engineering procurement construction company in Russia, I would want to know what the American or European EPC companies are looking at in Russia. No, I totally get it. It makes total sense.
Rhod: Yeah. So, I basically work with both sides and I think the best way you do it yourself with your business and you try to work with both sides and bring them all together. And that’s my major objective is for a clearer understanding.
You point earlier about the media, it has a complete distorted view of pretty much anything. We’ve seen that over the last two years as soon as the Russia collusion investigation collapsed with the senate investigation, immediately you had scruple and then you had the Syria gas attack. It’s like we can’t let this go, we have to keep demonizing Russia.
Mark: Well, it’s – and what’s sad about it is the fact that nobody’s reporting the truth, right? So, I actually have a lot of friends that are Russian or – and you know you’re in that circle.
Mark: And when I talk to you when I talk to my other Russian friends, what’s really going on versus what media reports is vastly different which is just – it’s just messed up, right? And there’s nothing we can do to correct the media.
The thing that I also find interesting though is this new younger generation that’s entering our workforce, none of them pay any attention to conventional media. They don’t read the newspapers, they don’t buy the magazines, they don’t watch the news, right? And so, they’re out there looking for their truth on their own when they want to see it which is one thing we do with these videos, right? So, anybody can watch this video anytime they want and understand what’s really going on.
So, I want to kind of go back to the sanctions because the sanctions have been a big thing politically here in the US. From the Russian side it cause some impact, but then after a year or two like Russia has a lot of conventional reservoirs speaking of oil and gas. After a year or two, Russia was able to ramp back up production. So, even if the sanctions were something that we wanted to make a difference with, they’re really not causing much effect at all now, right?
Rhod: They haven’t had an effect as yet on conventional production. What they may have is an effect in five to ten years time because we know that the cycle within oil is you find that and you extract and the time difference between the two is anything up to ten years.
Rhod: So, you’ve done all geological exploration you’ve done all the surveys etc and then you stop putting the business plan together or probably you got it out the ground and then get it to production the infrastructure, the pipelines, etc.
So, ExxonMobil is probably the classic example and it’s the local company to you. It was working in the Kara Sea with Rosneft which is obviously Russia’s largest oil company. And after sanctions they weren’t allowed to use the technology that they had joined the partnership with Rosneft to do, so that project has actually been frozen.
What they’re not taking into account is we actually have a very good oil and gas University here in Ufa where is I am based and also another major one in Moscow. These technologies are not specific to the US. China, Russia, etc are working on these technologies. They don’t have them quite yet, but they’re not that far away.
Mark: Yeah. The other thing that’s going to happen is as we talk about oil and gas when we think of Russia we think in the Middle East we tend to think of conventional reservoirs. The other thing that nobody talks about is Russia has as much if not more unconventional hydrocarbons as we do here in the US, right? You have the shale you have the geology and the technologies to get that type of hydrocarbon out of the ground economically it’s not rocket science, right?
We were the first to get there, it doesn’t mean there’s not a second and a third a fourth and a fifth and a sixth and a seventh, right? So, the amount of hydrocarbons that Russia has at its disposal is enormous and the Russian people are very good at working and getting stuff and making a dollar.
Rhod: Absolutely. I mean we have this something called the Bazhenov Suitewhich is a formation that is very similar to the Permian in Texas. And it how probably has roughly the same amount of reserves.
Mark: Yeah. And so, you’re talking about billions and billions of cubic feet of natural gas, tons and tons of the liquids, bunch of crude oil.
Mark: And the thing that’s kind of interesting, I’ve been watching this for the last couple years, in the US and Europe the public sentiment is around the fact that oil and gas isn’t needed anymore and what they don’t realize is everything depends on hydrocarbons. The windmill blades are composites that are made from natural gas. The paint on your bicycle, you know 72% of what’s in a Tesla has hydrocarbons in it, right?
So, the world has an increasing demand and you’re looking at things like China. China’s actually I’ve been really impressed with them. It’s — they’ve had an issue with pollution with air pollutions specifically around coal-generated electricity. They’re making a switch, Rhod. They’re switching the natural gas and it’s cleaning up their air and they’re doing it quickly, right?
Europe’s doing the same thing. You see countries like Germany tried to go down the renewable side. What happens is the fact that they actually did not hit their goals and they had to actually build more coal-fired generation plants to fill in the gaps between the renewables. The solution to all of that is natural gas and Russia is the predominant natural gas supplier to — to the UK.
Rhod: That was predominant to Europe actually.
Mark: To Europe. Yeah.
Rhod: It was something like about 40%. It’s between 38 and 40%. And that is also a major issue with sanctions. I mean sanctions are now being applied to the Nord Stream 2 project on the financing of it. That’s to join Nord Stream 1 which goes direct from Russia into Germany and they’re building a second point way. That takes 55 billion cubic meters a year straight into Germany into a pipeline system that then goes all over Europe.
Now, they’re building the second one and US sanctions are now being applied to people who try and lend money to the financing of that project. But, that’s got nothing to do with the economics of the project because the first pipelines practically paid for itself in its eight years. It’s about energy security for Europe and it doesn’t want to be dependent on Russian gas. Despite the fact that the only people who’ve interrupted the supply of Russian gas to Europe would be the UK.
Mark: [Laughs]It’s just so screwed up. And you know, you know, the US is chasing out a little bit too with some LNG exports. It could be interesting to see we’re not there from a maturity curve yet, so it would be interesting to see about ten years from now what that world looks like. But, it just makes fiscal sense for Europe to buy natural gas from Russia because it’s right there and there’s a cost to transport, right? The closer you actually have the supplier the less the cost of transport is.
The other thing people understand is the sanctions that have interfered with the finance in this pipeline, the companies and the people that want to finance this pipeline, that’s jobs. They’re not financing it because it feels good, they’re financing because they could get a return on their investment, right? That return is profit and that profit creates jobs. And it bugs me when governments interfere with the private sector to the point that it starts affecting people’s ability to have good high-paying jobs.
Rhod: I agree with you. I still remember Ronald Reagan’s quote. He said, “The most feared words in the English languages are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”
Mark: Yeah. Yeah. It’s — my favorite president of all time by all means. And I don’t want to go too far down that road, but he really did some really cool stuff that people don’t know about.
Rhod: Yeah. I mean on the gas side not just Europe, but they’re about to look by the end of this year beginning of next, they have actually launched what is known as the power of Siberia pipeline from Siberian gas fields directly into China. Now, that’s 3,000 kilometers long.
Mark: That’s crazy. That’s…
Rhod: Through some of the most hostile climate on the planet.
Rhod: Where temperatures plunge to -60.
Mark: Yeah. So, maybe they’ll actually be accidentally shipping LNG in the pipeline if they’re not careful because it’s almost cold enough to bring that gas down to liquid.
Rhod: Oh, back to your comment about LNG. It’s not just the transportation cost, it’s actually building the regasification plants. So, you take a tanker full of LNG somewhere, you’ve got to build a plant that can then regasify it.
Mark: Yeah. There’s a whole — whole other side of that infrastructure, so you’re absolutely right. So, you have to build a terminal that can outlaw – can offload that LNG and then you have to build the plant that convert that liquid back to a gas and then that plant has to put it back into the pipeline infrastructure of whatever the country is.
You’re seeing a lot of work around that all over the world. China is building a lot of regasification plants all over the place. And you’re seeing that happening and literally almost all of Asia-Pacific, right? Korea, Japan, all that sort of stuff. It is going to be interesting to see what happens with the big Chevron project in Australia once all those Asia-Pacific regasification terminals get built.
Rhod: Well, as we discussed before the Yamal LNG project is up and running. And it’s got a foreign investors, it’s got two foreign investors actually. One is Total France and the other is the CNPC which is the China National Petroleum Corporation. And that’s about 15 million tons a year. There are another three plants are in the planning and there’s also the Sakhalin project which does 10.1. And every single piece of that gas goes to the Asia-Pacific on long-term contracts
Mark: Yeah. And it just makes fiscal sense, right? It’s a good reliable way to produce electricity for the people. It’s good for the environment. It’s good for the companies and the people that actually produce the natural gas and on and on and on.
Mark: So, it’s a different value chain in the hydrocarbon world than we’ve had before, but it’s sort along the same lines, right? We produce energy, somebody makes a profit off of it, it creates jobs. We ship it to somewhere in the world that benefits from it. They’re happy with it. So, it’s kind of a win-win for everybody.
Rhod: Yeah. And what you have to remember is in these sort of projects and these plants etc, these are highly skilled operatives. So, we’re not talking about, you know, minimum wage jobs, we’re looking at high paying highly qualified intelligent engineers, physicists, etc.
Mark: Yeah. So, it’s one of the things that we’re paying attention to here in the US, so you have that whole area of the Pennsylvania. If you drew a big circle around Pennsylvania Ohio, they have all that natural gas available.
Royal Dutch Shell – so, Shell is building a big ethylene cracker facility over there. But, one of the things that we’re paying attention to is when Shell builds the ethylene cracker, that workforce is now going to learn how to build an ethylene cracker, right? So now, you have a skilled workforce in that area of the country. What happens next that means another company can build another ethylene cracker cheaper because now you have that skilled workforce there over and over and over again.
Mark: I think that part of the US is going to become the petrochemical Detroit, if you want to look at it that way of the US. But that petrochemical that that exporting of plastics and all that sort of stuff, that’s going on every place in the world there is oil and gas and one of those places is Russia, right?
Mark: So, y’all are getting into the export market in a big way.
Rhod: Yeah. I mean there’s four major petrochemical plants under construction. And I did an article today where Russia is looking at something like $15 billion worth of exports from petrochemical industry up to 2025.
Mark: Yeah. That’s awesome.
Now, I want to do a side note here because you and I talked about this before we turn over to camera on.
Mark: You just did a big report on gold. I had no idea Russia has that much gold and is exporting that much gold and mining that much gold.
Rhod: Oh, it doesn’t export the gold. It goes into the reserves. Rather than foreign currency and buying US treasuries, Russia stockpiles gold. So, most of your average main Russian gold producers sell it direct at the market price the current market price to the Russian Central Bank. Russia has the sixth largest gold reserves in the world at the moment.
Mark: I had no idea that you back your currency with gold. We used to do that a long time ago. We stopped doing it and sometimes that’s an issue.
Rhod: That is an issue and that’s always been an issue with fiat currencies. Fiat currencies over the years have always changed. Up until the WWI, the British pound and not the US dollar was the fiat currency around the world used for trade and it was gold back. And the only reason that oil is sold in dollars was Kissinger going to Saudi Arabia in 1973 and convincing Saudis and the local farmers to sell oil only in US dollars. And that’s why the US has been able to run a twenty trillion level of debt that would have bankrupted most countries around the world.
Mark: Yeah. You’re dating yourself in this talk about Kissinger. I remember those days. [Laughs]
So, let me throw something out there. You talked about Saudi Arabia, we’re actually talking to Saudi Aramco right now for the podcast. Do you think they’d go public? Do you think they’d go IPO?
Rhod: I personally don’t think so. I don’t think its reserves are as high as it says. And I don’t think the valuation on the company by the Saudis is a fair valuation.
Mark: Yeah. It’s – we are watching that really close too. It’s — that’s the same concern I have is the fact that if you go public you have to open the books, right?
Mark: You have to tell the truth, right? And if you’ve done business in the Middle East specifically with Saudi Aramco, a lot of stuff that in the US and Europe would be considered unethical is a lot ways they do business. Well, now, they have to expose that.
The other thing is, right? Is the reserves. They talk about the conventional reserves they have, but now they have to prove it, right? They have to actually – it’s a legal term, barrels of reserves. So, I actually think they will go public, but if they don’t it’s for the exact reasons that you said is that they actually have to open the books and tell the truth about stuff.
Rhod: Yeah. Yeah. I mean obviously it’s been a huge oil producer for China memorial since the 1930’s you know and the House of Saudis you know lives high on the hog from that. But, every oilfield no matter how big finally comes to its end.
Mark: Yeah. There’s a life cycle, right? And depending — and the thing that’s so attractive about the reserves that Saudi Aramco has in the Middle East is they’re conventional which makes them very, very, very inexpensive to get oil around. They basically pump a gallon of seawater in the ground and a gallon oil comes up. But, you’re right, if they’re on that decline curve those conventional reservoirs, then it’s not as valuable anymore.
Rhod: Yeah. So, I mean there’s a lot of thing. Let’s go back to sanctions, I mean sanctions haven’t really harmed Russia. It’s actually made Russia a lot more self-reliant in quite a number of ways particularly from a financial perspective. It’s now got its own internet payment system and it could actually be cut off from swift without causing too many problems.
Most of the debt of the Russian companies that was dollar dominated is now in rubles and very little at that. And when the spike in oil — the last time we spoke it was 62, it’s 74-1/2. And I can’t — we’ve been talking up for a year and every time we talk about it gets up. All the doomsayers who tell us we don’t know what we’re talking about, you know we’re normally correct.
Rhod: And every single Russian company not to mention the Russian treasury are enjoying themselves. They’re making more money than they thought they did. Russia budgeted for this year oil at $50, it’s $75. So, for the first quarter of this year it’s got, you know, 25% more revenue coming in the door than it had. All the Russian companies, the [Mbita] is up because they make [0:22:02 Inaudible]. The cost is in rubles, they sell in dollars.
Mark: Right. Which is a margin right there, right? So…
Mark: Yeah. So, I want to kind of back you up back you up just a little bit because we talked about the sanctions. One of the reasons that the oil prices where it is is because of the cooperation between Russia and OPEC, right? To limit production so that prices go up. Do you think that cooperation is going to continue?
Rhod: I think the price of the oil when it went down to below 40 was actually artificially induced. I think it was a combination of political will from the USA and Saudi Arabia to try and hurt Russia as badly as it could. That plan actually backfired rather badly not on the Russians, but on the Saudis. And they realized that that they need oil at $70 to stop the hemorrhaging of cash. So, I think that oil is going to stay above $65 certainly $70 for the foreseeable future.
Rhod: And Russia may break ranks with that, but we’ve also got the situation with Venezuela and we’ve also got the situation with Libya. Venezuela’s oil production is falling off a cliff.
Mark: Yeah. It’s gone. Yeah. And what’s sad and we talked about this years ago, what’s sad is the people of Venezuela are suffering, right? They can’t feed their own people. They have all these tremendous hydrocarbon reserves and the government basically corruption and screwing people over got themselves a situation where they can’t produce hydrocarbons anymore.
Mark: And the US has a big appetite for the heavy crude that Venezuela produces and literally they’re trading crude right now for rice and beans to try to feed their people and it’s not working.
Rhod: Yeah. And they’re obviously very indebted to various institutions particularly the Chinese and the Russians. And I get the impression that from just noises within the political circles in Russia that even they are beginning to run out patience with Venezuela.
Mark: Yeah. So, I firmly believe that somebody big and it’s going be a government and it’s probably going to be China and it may be China and Russia at some point will step in because it makes fiscal sense to start producing that heavy crude. And here where it gets funny. And they’ll sell that heavy crude back to the US, right?
Do you think the US would step in and then try to prop that government or prop another government up to its own benefit, but our political climate right now is so much of this where nobody wants to get anything accomplished that we probably won’t be able to pull that off?
Rhod: Yeah. I mean that’s the biggest problem with the USA at the moment is we get all the media channels here. I’ve got 800 cable channels, right? And about 200 of them are in English through various parts of the world, the UK. So, I get CNN, I get MSNBC, I get Fox News, I get pretty much everything.
And we also cover on the Russian channels, the outpourings of people. I mean, but we have a great chuckle in an evening when, you know, you’ve got somebody like Maxine Walters on the CNN and she doesn’t know the difference between the Crimea and Korea.
Mark: It’s horrible.
Rhod: And you’ve got Nikki Haley who gets caught by two Russian pranksters telling about the island that doesn’t exist that’s a member of the UN and Binomo, right? And she will be monitoring the situation. We wonder what we’re dealing with, I mean I mean I don’t want watch the relationship between Vladimir Putin and Sergey Lavrov etc, but when they make pronouncements they actually sound like statesmen.
Mark: [Laughs]Yeah. I’m probably want to leave this one alone because right now I’m not real happy with the way our – the US administration sounds in the public eye. Not that I don’t support them, right? But it’s still it’s – we need some real leaders, right? And those leaders, yeah…
Rhod: Excuse me. Mark, to be honest I haven’t lived in the UK since the days of Margaret Thatcher. And since Margaret Thatcher left 10 Downing Street in the UK there’s been a succession of charlatans, idiots, and liars basically.
Rhod: There has been no politician with gravitas and a sense of statesmanship.
Mark: Yeah. And really I’m right there with you, Rhod. I really hope that that changes. I actually volunteered this year and I work for a local politician just some volunteer work. And I actually got you got to meet – I supported his position, but I got to meet his opponent. And, Rhod, I was disappointed, the incumbent the opponent of the person that I work for not a very bright person. And it’s like hopefully all our politicians aren’t like this. I mean this will — and then I started talking to some friends of mine and they go, “You know, Mark, the people that have the intelligence and the wherewithal and the drive aren’t going to get involved in politics, they’ll get involved in business.”
And it’s like, yeah, I never thought about that before, right? So, hopefully there are some changes coming both here and in Europe because we really could use some real leaders.
Rhod: Yeah. And I basically what we in Russia hope for is — and we’re actually beginning to lose patience because we keep making overtures to say, okay, guys let’s sit down let’s talk let’s resolve these issues. Let’s work together to resolve the situation be it Syria, Iraq, North Korea, etc. But, all Russia does and is good intentions are rebuffed and then it’s reviled and the politicians and the press continue to do so.
And it’s only when I read people like Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Robert Parry, the late Robert Parry and his successors at Consortiumnews, Strategic Culture, the wonderful Stephen Cohen. I mean I don’t have to explain who Stephen Cohen is. He’s probably the living expert on Russia and United States, the professor at New York University.
People like those who actually talk sense who actually have an understanding of the global situation and understand Russia. And Winston Churchill once described Russia as a riddle inside — an enigma wrapped in a mystery, right? It can be, but it’s actually quite easy to understand. It just wants to get along and people to stop poking it and trying to provoke it into something.
Mark: Yeah. It’s — and we’re going to try to actually fix that a little bit. So, we’re still are planning to make a trip to Russia bring several of the Oil and Gas Global Network host to Russia.
I want to talk to the real Russian people. I want to report on this, I want to shoot some video I want to get some audio and bring this back to the rest of the world because what is portrayed in our media is not the reality in Russia. And like I said, you know, I have — not only do I have no animosity toward Russia, I actually like Russia. I want Russia to be our strong ally that it used to be. And me and my circle of friends feel the same way.
Unfortunately, when the media is reporting on stuff in the US back to Russia, they portray it like the Americans don’t like Russia which is not true. And I think the reverse is also not true, I think the Russian people would like to — have no animosity toward Americans and it’s our media that’s making this look like there’s something going on that’s not going on at all.
Rhod: Right. You’re absolutely correct, Mark. The Russian people do not hate Americans per se. They laugh and they despise the politicians. They have no animosity whatsoever. There are as far as I’m aware at least 50,000 US citizens living in Moscow. And I meet some of them from time to time when I’m in various places on my travels up to Moscow and not one of them has ever, ever had anything said to them personally. They’ve had comments about your government, it’s a bit suspect shall we say. But, on a personal level the people are great.
I live in Ufa and the British Foreign Office throughout report is be careful when you’re in Russia because British citizens might be liable to an attack. I’m attacked all the time by affection.
Mark: [Laughs] I love it. I love it. Yeah. So, Rhod, we need to start winding this thing down.
Mark: Quick plug. If people want to find out more about you and your company, where should they go?
Rhod: www.rusmininfo.com. You’ll put it up at the end. Now, we just got to do the craft beer section.
Mark: Okay. This is the craft beer section because craft beer has grown tremendously. Yeah.
Rhod: It’s grown exponentially all over the world and it hit Russia – hit Russia about five or six years ago, but then it’s just grown like a mushroom cloud. So, here we go.
Mark: So, that’s a craft beer in Russia? 4.9% alcohol. Geez, dude.
Rhod: That’s wheat beer.
Rhod: They’re producing German-style wheat beer locally.
Mark: That is so cool.
Rhod: Yeah. And most of these Russians like them a bit strong.
Mark: Well, 4.9% is a very strong beer.
Rhod: Yeah. I tend to stick to 4% because that’s just about my limit you know.
Mark: So, Rhod, let me ask you this. Is the younger generation in Russia moving away from the traditional spirits because Russia has always been a vodka spirits…
Rhod: Yeah, very much so. I mean summers here, people are in the park the pavement cafes almost every spot that has a bit of green space. So, plastic tables and chairs and a small marquee pops up with a couple of coolers and a couple of kegs and having a hotdog and a cold beer you know. And that’s wonderful, it’s just people just sit around and watch the world go by in summer evening and stuff like that.
So, yeah, so the younger people as I mentioned in one of our last broadcast do drink spirits, but it’s normally Western spirits. I mean Tequila is particularly popular here.
Rhod: Craft beer is growing and these are brands just locally and very unusual bottle.
Mark: Oops. Oh, that’s cool. It’s really cool.
Rhod: Another one here. This one you’ll love the label.
Mark: Oh, I do love that. Yes. [Laughs]
You know what’s cool about this is this are entrepreneurs, right?
Mark: Even if they’re selling beer, they’re using the technology they’re marketing themselves they’re doing stuff with their hands they’re building a business which is awesome.
Rhod: That’s correct. I mean basically all these are small independent. Not one of them is owned by a major brewery. And last time I was in Moscow, I went to this particular bar that’s just not from Pushkinskaya which is near the center which is Pushkin being poet. And, I went in this bar and I had a twenty seven different craft beers on draft.
Mark: On draft?
Rhod: On draft.
Mark: Holy shit. Oops, excuse me. I will edit that part. [Laughs]That’s a lot of different draft beers.
Rhod: Yeah. And all of them were about 2 bucks.
Mark: 2 bucks US?
Rhod: 2 bucks US for a half liter.
Mark: God, it’s cheap. [Laughs] All right. So, I know where you’re taking me when we come to Russia.
Rhod:Oh, I’ll take you all over the place. You’ll love it.
Mark, it’s a pleasure as always.
Mark: Yeah. So, this has been great. Rhod. We’re going to get this out. People, if you’re looking to do business in Russia and you want to know what the landscape looks like, reach out to Rhod reach to his company. Great guy.
We are planning to make a trip out there. I’m not sure when that’s going to happen, we’re still working with details. But, you know this is one of those things were we want to bring the power of the Oil and Gas Global Network to Russia so that we can report on what’s really going on. And Rhod has been gracious enough to be a friend of ours for a very long time, so we’re looking forward to actually meet you in person because you and I have never met in person.
Rhod: It seems as though we’ve been friends for years.
Mark: It does. Yeah. So, we’re going to get out of here soon.
Rhod, thank you very much for your time.
Folks, I hope this helped. We will see you next time