Friday, October 15, 2021

Friday Night Links

  • Starting with some of the larger names in the S&P 500 Energy Sector ETF (NYSE:XLE), we can see that capex currently is at around 2004-2005 levels of $8-$10 bn per quarter in aggregate, quite far from the peak of $25 bn+ per quarter in the 2014-2015 period. For this chart, we took the 20-year capex history for Exxon, Chevron, EOG, Pioneer, ConocoPhillips, and Williams. [Sentieo]
  • "If this capital discipline remains, you are talking about $12/MMBtu, $14/MMBtu gas to incentivize either curtailing LNG exports or curtailing exports to Mexico." [S&P]
  • Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it has authorized the marketing of three new tobacco products, marking the first set of electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) products ever to be authorized by the FDA through the Premarket Tobacco Product Application (PMTA) pathway. The FDA issued marketing granted orders to R.J. Reynolds (RJR) Vapor Company for its Vuse Solo closed ENDS device and accompanying tobacco-flavored e-liquid pods, specifically, Vuse Solo Power Unit, Vuse Replacement Cartridge Original 4.8% G1, and Vuse Replacement Cartridge Original 4.8% G2. As the RJR Vapor Company submitted data to the FDA that demonstrated that marketing of these products is appropriate for the protection of public health, today’s authorization allows these products to be legally sold in the U.S. [FDA]
  • On Friday, Turning Point Brands, which late last month petitioned a federal court to review a marketing denial order (MDO) for many of its vapor products, is withdrawing its appeal. The company is doing so because, on Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration informed TPB the products that had been denied are now back under review. “Upon further review of the administrative record, FDA found relevant information that was not adequately assessed,” reads a letter addressed to Brittani Cushman, TPB’s senior vice president of external affairs, and signed by Matthew Holman, the director of the office of science at the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “Specifically your applications did contain randomized controlled trials comparing tobacco-flavored ENDS to flavored ENDS as well as several cross-sectional surveys evaluating patterns of use, likelihood of use, and perceptions in current smokers, current ENDS users, former tobacco users, and never users, which require further review.” “Accordingly,” it goes on, “this letter rescinds the September 14, 2021, marketing denial orders for your tobacco products.” [No Smoking Section]
  • I had previously tweeted that the government showing that youth vaping rates dropped doesn’t matter — that the data is purposely misinterpreted or abused by prohibitionists, and the battle remains cultural and ideological. I believe that: We stigmatized smoking so much in this country that reintroducing nicotine into “polite” society is no easy feat. I was a boy when Big Tobacco came under fire, so I admittedly do not have the same perspective as these dinosaurs who have litigated their way onto pedestals. I recognize the foe here is public perception, and one day people will have to come around to the idea that there are much safer ways to use nicotine. [No Smoking Section]
  • If living well is one of Brunello’s fixations (he lists "the five c’s"—cashmere, cognac, chocolate, cigars, and champagne—as the essence of the good life), he also considers it a responsibility. And that responsibility extends to how you dress and the philosophy of dressing well. [GQ]
  • Wait a minute! Could they really be saying that, rather than being on a path to oblivion, all major fossil fuel categories (petroleum, natural gas and coal) will continue to see increased usage right on through 2050, and with no indication that any decline will have begun even then? Yes, that is exactly what they are saying. Indeed the projected increases in consumption of two of those fuels are quite dramatic — up in the range of 50% for natural gas and 40% for petroleum. Yes, so-called “renewables” are projected to increase dramatically; but after thirty years of this, they will still, according to EIA, provide only about 25% of “primary energy consumption,” which is less than petroleum alone, and barely a third of the combined contribution of petroleum, natural gas and coal. [Manhattan Contrarian]
  • The bureaucrats of the world, particularly in the UN and developed countries, have the idea that they are going to eliminate all use of fossil fuels by somewhere around 2040-50.  They have no conception of how to accomplish that, other than to order from on high that it shall occur and assume that somebody else will figure out the details.  This gives the rest of us the opportunity to sit on the sidelines and observe how bureaucratic fantasy gradually runs into the brick wall of physical reality. [Manhattan Contrarian]
  • To my knowledge, no one has examined heirloom strains of cacao for their content of anandamide, which might potentially have been much greater than in currently cultivated strains. More importantly, it is well known that the Olmecs, Mayans, and Aztecs drank their cacao mixed with chili peppers and/or vanilla pods, but it has generally been assumed that these were added for flavoring or as folk medicine remedies. To my knowledge, no one has pointed out a possible connection between the indigenous cacao ritual drinks and the synergy of cacao with capsaicin (from peppers) and vanillin (from vanilla): Namely, capsaicin and vanillin (and anandamide itself) are all agonists of the TRPV1 receptor, which stimulates production and release of endogenous anandamide. When mixed with N-linoleoylethanolamide and N-oleoylethanolamide from cacao, which inhibit anandamide breakdown, the levels of endogenous anandamide are augmented further. When breakdown of anandamide is inhibited pharmacologically or genetically, anandamide is able to produce a state of intoxication similar to tetrahydrocannabinol in rodents and nonhuman primates. Thus, I suggest that chili peppers and vanilla were not chosen coincidentally or haphazardly as flavorings but precisely because, together, they were able to achieve high levels of anandamide. [Neil R. Smalheiser]

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