Friday Morning Turns Back To Worry Land

Sentiment Watch: Market seems dazed and confused and distracted. Lack of real news is a problem that will get solved in the next week. Over abundance of news out of the Feds is a problem that will take longer to solve. This appears to be another throw away Friday, better spent flying kites and kicking sand on the beach. We get consumer sentiment at 10 EST (expected 71) so if we come in light there it becomes a double throw away day.


In Today's Post:

  1. Holdings Watch
  2. Commodity Watch
  3. Natural Gas Storage Review & Natural Gas Pricing Thoughts
  4. Stuff We Care About Today - DRYS, CVX (and really not caring about them much)
  5. Odds & Ends

Holdings Watch


  • $14,300
  • 62% Cash
  • Yesterday's Trades: None

 Commodity Watch

Crude oil shakily inched back up $0.27 to close at $60.41 yesterday. The fact that oil is oversold and the dollar cracked back below 80 contributed to the very modest strength. This morning oil is trading down $0.50 to $1.50 as equity market futures sell off, the dollar continues Yo-Yo (today higher) and the IEA said that Russian production will be about 330,000 bopd higher than previously thought next year.

  • Nigeria Watch: Henry Okah takes the deal. "They offered it to him yesterday. Okah welcomed the amnesty," one of Okah's lawyers, Wilson Ajuwa, told Reuters today. "We are in the process of finalising it. Hopefully, it will be resolved early next week." If MEND leader Okah is released it will likely dampen rebel activity for a month or two, allowing some production from the previous 6 weeks of intensive sabotage (300,000 bopd cut and counting) to come back on stream.
  • IEA Issues 2010 Forecast - this is their first shot at a 2010 outlook.

    • Global Oil Demand:

      • 2008: 86.3 mm bopd
      • 2009: 83.8 mm bopd (down 2.5 mm bopd or 2.9%)
      • 2010: 85.2 mm bopd (up 1.4 mm bopd or 1.7%). This splits the difference between 08 and 09 nicely; in coming months I would expect them to drift the number downward slightly unless we see green shoots with legs.
  • VLO Finally Shuttering Aruba Refinery. VLO announced quite some time back they are shuttering their Aruba refinery after failing to find a buyer for it. Margins stink and the gasoline it produces at least for now is not needed. We could see a small dent in gasoline imported to the U.S. as nearby Latin American producers adjust to the vacancy.

Natural gas rose $0.05 to close at $3.41 after the EIA reported a much better than expected injection to gas storage. The mix of more moderate weather and somewhat higher imports caused the Street to overestimate the size of the injection. More storage and gas price thoughts in the next section. This morning gas is trading off 4 cents with the move in oil.

Natural Gas Storage Review & Natural Gas Pricing Thoughts

ZComment:  Yesterday's gas storage injection was smaller than expected and it was smaller than not only recent relationships but also historic relationships to weather and cooling demand can account for. Ok, yes it's a survey. So there is always the possibility that survey error creeps in. But this is the third consecutive better than expected injection. The cumulative seasonal injection surplus to the five year average cumulative injection is now 1.2 Bcfgpd. The Street continually refers to a 3 Bcfgpd decline in demand but if these smaller than expected injections stick around much longer they will have to examine whether or not we are seeing supply response from a sub 700 gas rig count, increased penetration into the electricity market as gas competes with coal for generation share, and/or a price elastic demand response from industrial users (if you make fertilizer you can't believe your luck right now regarding how cheap natural gas has gotten).

Pricing Thoughts: My sense in the very near term is that gas prices start to pay more attention to these smaller injections and become more bouyant than both crude and the broad markets would suggest. I'm not looking for as much of "rally" as I am a blunting of the decline and sideways motion with a near term target back above $3.65.

Notes to the following gas graphs:

A) Storage remains at record levels for this time of year and remains on a trajectory that will put peak storage at record levels by October.

B) & C) The surplus to year ago and 5 year average storage levels contracted.

D) Injections have fallen back into the bounds of seasonal norms.

In the end, we are still going to get full, very full.




Stuff We Care About Today

DRYS Takes In Its Deepwater Rig Subsidiary

  • DRYS is spending $50 mm in cash and issung $288 mm in convertible preferred stock to acquire the remaining 25% interest in its deepwater drilling subsidiary.
  • In the end Dryships will own 2 ultra deepwater semisubs and 4 drillships in addition to its fleet of drybulk ships.
  • I would rather own RIG or ATW or DO and DSX than buy these new conglomeritized beasty.
  • I avoid this name like the plague because has been and continues to be self dealing but there was a conference call this morning for those interested and a replay can be found on their website. 


CVX Interim Updated Key Points:

  • Upstream operations were ok, production growth is non-existant but that's pretty standard for a Major. Pricing was better for oil and worse for gas so nothing unexpected and no takeaways from their 10,000 foot level of detail for any E&P project partners.
  • However, on the downstream side, refining margins were down sharply, more than offsetting marketing gains; as such downstream results are seen as "significantly lower" for 2Q than last quarter.

    • Looking at their regional domestic margins I'd sum them up as worse than I would have thought compared to 1Q levels.
    • This should apply further pressure to the independent refining group
  • Chemicals margins showed mixed results. Lower costs for natural gas prices are not really evident in the numbers.

Next week look for more individual company models and those updates on ROSE and ATPG.

Odds & Ends

Analyst Watch

  • (DRYS) upgraded to Hold at Cantor.
  • (PBR) upgraded to Buy at UBS
  • (WLT) cut to Hold at Brean

News of Interest Watch:

  • BP Not Killing Their Alternative Energy Effort. NPR reported yesterday that BP is shutting down their wind and solar efforts. Not true. They are closing the HQ and cutting funding back but that's not surprising in an environment where financing is difficult to obtain for wind projects while solar subsidy initiatives in parts of Europe are in question. Here's a better story than NPR's version citing the cutback but also the continued commitment. This is probably a net positive for FSLR and SPRWA who continue to bet big in R&D on solar.

66 Responses to “Friday Morning Turns Back To Worry Land”

  1. 1
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    Bad news… TechTrader is taking today and Monday off. Summer slowness is driving him to spend a looooong weekend in Key West.

    HeadTrader thinks if we gap down at open, you buy it and hold over the weekend ahead of earnings reports next week.

  2. 2
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    From a energy blast this morning… too funny not to post.

    CA IOU’s – Terminator taking on new meaning…banks in CA threatening to stop taking IOU’s issued by CA government during ongoing budget crisis. Best idea yet…individuals should start giving IOUs to state when tax bill comes due. “Sorry, can’t pay right now…but I’m good for it”. Perhaps barter system is next step for Golden State? Baseball cards for gas. Take your CD’s to grocery store when pantry runs low (Thriller gets you steak, Milli Vinilli gets you cat litter).

  3. 3
    zman Says:

    Thanks BOP, those Tudor guys are funny.

    Head trader got the open right.

    SocGen on the other hand bricked their call on CVX yesterday.

  4. 4
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    Additional color from HeadTrader = wait for a pullback, if there isn’t one then we look for a better entry… b/c believe we will have plenty of time to get in as most likely the mrkt will go sideways if we don’t pull back.

  5. 5
    RMD Says:

    oh great, more gas, this time Horn River: Exxon’s nat-gas find looks big. After scouring the globe for natural gas locked inside shale formations, ExxonMobil (XOM) says it may have a world-class find in Canada. Results from the first four wells lead Exxon to believe each well can produce 16-18M cubic feet of gas a day, five times the size of average wells in Texas’s Barnett shale and comparable to big wells in Louisiana’s Haynesville shale – two major shales that have already moved the U.S. natural-gas market from scarcity to abundance.

  6. 6
    VTZ Says:

    ECA has two >25 wells in Horn River I believe.

  7. 7
    zman Says:

    XOM has not come up with the “Undiscovered Country” with this “discovery”. It’s well known Horn River is highly productive. See EOG comments, it will take time and money to develop, yep ECA is there too along with many of the big names in N. American gas. Typical of Exxon of late to go and reinvent the wheel instead of drilling on Wall Street when prices are down.

  8. 8
    zman Says:

    I wrote this on Horn River back in Feb of 2008:

    British Columbia – Horn River Basin Play (3 years in the making – a stealth mode Barnett)

    * Quietly Accumulate 140,000 acres – Their words “could be the next Barnett Shale”
    * rock parameters look very similar to the Barnett – permeability roughly equivalent to Barnett.
    * EOG acreage is in the gas-richest part of the play,
    * More gas in place than the Barnett (2.5x as much!). 318 Bcf per square mile vs 131 Bcf in average Barnett mile,
    * Thicker than the Barnett. 530 feet thick average shale vs 355 in thickest part of Barnett,
    * Estimate reserves at 6 Tcf, net
    o 6.3 Tcf at a recoverable estimate of 20%
    o 9.3 Tcf if you assume 30% recovery
    o or looked at another way, using 40 acre spacing per well you’d get 2,100 wells…at 4 Bcf per well that equates to 8.4 Tcfe (6.3 Tcfe net)
    o or at a potential 6 Bcfe per well that yields 9.5 Tcfe
    o so they are pretty comfortable with the early read on reserves here.

    * Drilled 3 vertical and 3 horizontal wells to date. (drilling 4th hz well),to “half lateral” wells – 1700 feet.
    o vertical test in 2006 – 0.75 mmcfpd
    o 2nd and 3rd horizontal test were half lateral wells – short 1,700 laterals which tested at 3.5 and 4.2 MMcfepd.
    o they basically think you can take those rates and double them to see what a dual lateral well would yield (7 to 8 Mmcfepd)

    * Plan to drill 4 to 8 to firm up the play this year. There is infrastructure in the area for takeaway capacity and CO2 treatment (about 10%) and sales start June 2008. They indicated that the 450 MMcfepd treatment plant will need to be expanded in the 2010+ time frame if they are right about the size of the play.

    * One caveat Lower Rate of Return than the Barnett Shale due to:
    o due to remoteness so well costs are high (cold, wet conditions)
    o low recovery factor (which may improve over time if EOG’s history is any model)
    o location differential is also high to Henry Hub

  9. 9
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    z — thanks for the data dump on Horn River!

  10. 10
    choices Says:

    Hello, BOP-I was overseas when all that was going down-obviously, I was misinformed.


  11. 11
    zman Says:

    BOP – Its a bit out of date but since then they haven’t been releasing as much in the way of details. Horn River isn’t even mentioned in the latest EOG presentation as it was not seen as a significant contributor to production until at least 2011 (very remote, gas prices don’t warrant acceleration).

  12. 12
    choices Says:

    BOP-refer to last eve discussion-do not want to go there again.

  13. 13
    zman Says:

    Yep, best to stay on target. I hear there are sites out there for discussing religion and politics. I’m still trying to decipher Wyoming’s acronym from last night. Of course, I say that and now I have to step away for a meeting, back in 1 1/2 hours so rant away. Play nice as always. Very minor greening of the group started, keep that going for me.

  14. 14
    tater Says:

    I am here to speak on the behalf of all Bottom Dwelling Scum Sucking Greedy Corrupt Ambitious Stinky Little Hyenas…oh wait, we already have (place name of favorite politician).

    On a more serious note, and in reference to the above, movie quote;

    “It’s like finding a needle in a stack of needles.”

  15. 15
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    choices — sorry. not picking on you personally at all!! Most very smart people thought the same as you. For a long time, only those of us who suffered the legalized blackmail knew what was really going on.

    Hence, my abject FEAR of too much “regulation.” We want to assume those guys are out for good… when many of them are only out for themselves. The public sector is not any less “greedy” than the private sector. Something to keep in mind.

  16. 16
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    z — to decipher Wyo’s acronym, see tater’s comment #14… 😉

  17. 17
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    KOG — just spoke to mngmt. Other than commodity prices, there is no reason for the cliff dive that KOG did recently. Those $1.00+ buys I did will work out nicely.

    Goes back to earlier comments, tho… pick your stock, do your eval, get in at the “right” price and monitor the operations. That allows me to live through stock volatility. That said, of COURSE it is better to have bought at 75c than at $1.10. But, we have at least two moving parts here, oil prices and perception about KOG’s operations.

    I will say that I am not worried (at all) about KOG’s 2nd Unit Rig obligation… that was (apparently) the reason BMO put out a nasty comment recently (and was probably the reason behind the recent stock price swan dive).

    KOG is living within their cash flow now. That is night-and-day, versus last year’s nail-biting situation.

    My price target of $1.75+ in the near term still stands. ’nuff said.

  18. 18
    Wyoming Says:

    Tater, much thanks for spelling out BDSSGCASLH.

    As I can take a hint here is some serious, professional daylight information:




    Well, calling it a day, check back later, good weekend to all.

  19. 19
    md Says:

    I don’t own any KOG or WRES. Is this as good a time as any.

    EIA NG – The likelihood is that INDustrail has not recovered and is still DN 12%.
    It leaves only 2 scenarios. Electricity
    consumption way up or drop in production has begun.
    If electricity if we’re in milder weather what is possibilty that more NG plants are running due to cost and not peak demand

  20. 20
    md Says:

    I missed #17. I Appreciate your comments

  21. 21
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    md — re: KOG, all I can say is that I bought more shares at 84c, then again at $1.01. If you think oil prices are headed lower, hold off. I personally have no feel for oil going higher or lower, after this recent correction. Maybe z has the crystal ball on that.

  22. 22
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    md — wow. coincidence, then! hope the comments help.

  23. 23
    elijahwc Says:

    Food for thought:

    Oil Markets No Place for D.C. Quick Fix

    Daniel Dicker TheStreet.com
    07/10/09 – 10:03 AM EDT

    The oil market pulls the stock market, the stock market leads the oil market. Is there any practical difference anymore?
    The last week of action in oil has seen almost a 20% drop in the price in futures traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. In the S&P, we’ve seen a similar, if less incendiary 5% drop. Did the stock market move inspire the oil decline, or did oil move the stock market?

    The “endless bid” in oil, my phrase for investment interest in black gold, has never seen such vindication than in the action we’ve seen the past week. It’s caused this uncomfortable volatility we’ve seen and an “interconnectedness” between oil and stocks that belies logic.

    Through ETFs like USO and ETNs like OIL, investors have been given access to the futures markets directly and immediately. This has helped swamp out whatever legitimate hedge interests there were left in the oil futures game and made the prices that we see represented unreliable and fundamentally inaccurate.

    This week’s risk aversion, dollar strength and flight to Treasuries has seen oil plummet, as investor interest quickly scatters.

    Commodity Futures Trading Commission rumblings about crackdowns on “speculation” (a dirty word that doesn’t really apply here) have investors heading for the exits on oil even more quickly.

    Margin increases and position limits are nice ideas and simple for the simpletons at the CFTC and in Washington to comprehend, but they will have little to no practical effect on the way that the market operates now.

    The changes that the oil markets have made and the mechanisms they’ve now become took years to implement and ingrain. They will resist simple solutions and have the very real threat of doing much more harm than good. You simply cannot fix what took years to create overnight. It requires a lot more understanding and thought and intelligent conversation — a lot to ask from both regulators in Washington and the politicians that inspire them.

    Black box trade systems have flourished on the stock index/oil spread recently. Hedge fund managers in commodities and entirely oil-specific funds have seen rapid increases in their ability to accumulate capital, even as the hedge fund industry at large sputters.

    Wealth managers continue to rebalance portfolios with new commodity indexes, designed to give clients exposure to oil as they try to hedge equity and fixed-income risk. A new generation of traders find the volatility of oil ETFs a great daytrade vehicle, as opposed to the relatively “slow moves” of stocks. We’ve seen a whole new infrastructure grow into the modern oil market.

    It would be nice to think that this new decline in oil in finally representing fundamentals, and we’ll be left with an oil price we can rely upon.

    After all, natural gas — an alternate fuel to crude – has been trading recently at under $3.50 an MmBtu. The last time we saw that price in nat gas, oil was trading closer to $30 a barrel.

    At that price for oil, I’d be ready to recommend a whole host of stocks: Airlines like Delta(DAL Quote), AMR (AMR Quote) and Jet Blue(JBLU Quote); transporters that depend on fuel prices like Federal Express(FDX Quote) and UPS(UPS Quote), and especially refiners like Tesoro(TSO Quote), Valero(VLO Quote) and Sunoco(SUN Quote), who’ve been buried under miserable margins by the endless bid on the crude barrel.

    But I cannot resist the thought that oil is just taking a break, that if the stock market finds even a temporary bottom, if the dollar weakens a bit more again and if investors find some fresh appetite for risk, oil will surely head up.

    We’ll need a more reliable price for this critical commodity in order to recommend anything with some degree of confidence. But getting to a reliable price won’t be easy, and Washington is the wrong place to look for the answers.

  24. 24
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    Thanks, elijha. Good article.

    z sends his regrets… but he is stuck, out of the office, for another hour or so. he appreciates anyone who cares to post mrkt updates periodically.

    Dow -67
    SPX -7
    HK $19.34

  25. 25
    VTZ Says:

    BOP- Any comments on negative central bank interest rates?

  26. 26
    john11 Says:

    SP -7
    HK 19.35

  27. 27
    john11 Says:

    …and the grass is growing

  28. 28
    West Says:

    BOP, Would u do me a favor, since u know someone at KOG? Please ask them if their EUR estimates include natural gas. I have emailed them but have not gotten a response. As far as price I know several investors had an attitude adjustment after there was not any price follow thru after well announcements. Several large stop orders were placed and executed further damaging price. Thx

  29. 29
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    West — Thanks for your follow-up KOG question. Just added it to my list of to hit up KOG on the 2nd go-around. Should get answers pretty quick, unless they have taken an early-Friday. I’ll get back to you.

    Any other KOG-specific questions out there? I’m making a list… thx.

    VTZ — could you elaborate? Are you talking about Fed Funds rate vs inflation (CPI) level? I’ll try to help, if I can. thanks.

  30. 30
    elduque Says:

    Any thoughts re SPWRA?

  31. 31
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    elduque — z is still stuck out of the office… will get back atcha as soon as he returns.

  32. 32
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    West — a little more KOG info. They just finished drilling wells 5 and 6. One is a long, the other a short lateral. Both were with partner XTO (who sounds very pleased with the partnership to date). KOG will move a competion rig on the site during the 1st week in August. They don’t think they will have well-results by their next conf call, but it sounds like everything is going according to schedule.

  33. 33
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    Can someone with real-time quotes on oil and natty gas pls post for z? He’s almost finished with his off-site… but can’t BEAR to be away during mrkt hours! Help ease his pain… post some levels for him.

  34. 34
    West Says:

    Thx, BOP. I am on another project but I need to post some add’l infor on offsetting wells for the group to comment/analysis, maybe this weekend.Thx again

  35. 35
    john11 Says:

    oil 59.78
    gas 3.375
    dow -43
    sp -3

  36. 36
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    john11 — z says “thanks”

    I’ve got to run out for a bit myself. Keep posting levels… z should be back soon.

  37. 37
    PackMan Says:

    BOP … any updates on IG and HY ?
    Haven’t seen any in awhile.

  38. 38
    PackMan Says:

    Added a few thousand KOG at 80.50

  39. 39
    zman Says:

    I’m back, give me a couple of minutes to get my head around what’s up. BOP, thanks for moderating, and thanks for the updates guys. Will filter through questions in short order.

  40. 40
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    PackMan — just b/c you asked…

    IG 146

    HY 83.25

    worse levels from the tights (highs) of abou 120 and 86, but so far away from the “we’re all going to die” that it feels pretty good.

    Nice snag on the KOG shares.

  41. 41
    kyleandy Says:

    bop – may be dumb question but if wells are drilled , why does it take 3-4 weeks to complete them. it seems to me they would not delay w/o good reason , as they could use the cash flow. having just completed some, it seems like a completion rig shud be avail.

  42. 42
    zman Says:

    ElD- I think I will own August SPWRA prior to their call on July 23. May due FSLR instead. Either one I would be long.

  43. 43
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    kyleandy — good question… but, has to do with rig and completion crew availability, i would think. KOG owns their own drilling rig, but not their own completion rig. I’ll add that to the list of questions. Thanks!

  44. 44
    zman Says:

    MD – I continue to hold both KOG and WRES. I think it will take price stability in crude before either of them or any of the little oily names mount anything that looks like a serious recovery. KOG may have further catalytic news on their conference call (and may not) but I don’t think WRES will.

  45. 45
    john11 Says:

    Took some more KOG here also.

  46. 46
    zman Says:

    BOP – it should not take four weeks. Not based on the logistics of getting it done. Wyoming will back me up on that.

  47. 47
    john11 Says:

    BOP..thx for keeping us updated on the KOGster, really appreciate it.

  48. 48
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    kyleandy — the more i think about it… the better your question is. Could be some useful info in the answer. Will get back to you as soon as we find out. thx again.

  49. 49
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    z — #46… agreed. Hence the follow-up #48 above.

  50. 50
    zman Says:

    Simmons interim piece out on EOG, couple of points:

    Bakken transportation rates and differentials much improved. Knew they were better back in May, good to here that continues. Good for CLR, WLL, KOG on the differential side, maybe not as much on the transportation side, it depends if EOG is talking rail vs truck or if they are still talking truck now vs truck back a quarter ago. I would imagine they are still trucking and have not got the rail solution running yet which means good things for all the Bakken folks.

    EOG – still quiet on Haynesville E. Texas stepout well. That will be big news on the call if they come in with a bigger well. Also, no word on their Eagle Ford results although I have heard they are working there and may have drilled a large IP well there.

  51. 51
    zman Says:

    Rig Count Watch:

    Oil up 5 to 234 vs 370 year ago
    Gas down 16 to 672 vs 1,544 year ago

    Horizontal down 6 to 390 vs 560 year ago

    Biggest drop in rigs was Louisiana which is probably just noise (rigs moving about).

  52. 52
    zman Says:

    For those of you keeping score, that’s a new low on the gas rig count. You’ve got to go back to May 2002 to see levels that low on the gas side.

  53. 53
    zman Says:

    If you are having intermittent problems with site I’ve activated the backup site so if you can’t get me here try:


  54. 54
    Dman Says:

    Z – is that also a new low for horizontals?

    Query: CRK seems to be harder hit than the group. Opportunity?

  55. 55
    zman Says:

    Its not a new low for Horizontals but it is near this cycle low. Gas could care less right now about the decline in the rig count as traders say “show me the lack of gas”

    CRK – watching, not getting in yet, probably will right before earnings, does seem unjustly beaten back.

  56. 56
    john11 Says:

    Great picture on the back-up site Z!

  57. 57
    zman Says:

    John – Thanks, note the shirt! I just wish their fingers weren’t so short, not very fast at 10 key. Perhaps the next stimulus bill, focused on small business this time, I will be able to afford smaller key pads for them.

  58. 58
    Dman Says:

    Did anyone hear any color from AA on the China industrial demand picture? Or from any other source, for that matter…

  59. 59
    zman Says:



  60. 60
    Dman Says:

    Thanx Z

  61. 61
    zman Says:

    Anyone sending money to a tax haven will be considered to be committing tax fraud under proposed legislation. The burden of proof will be on the tax payer to prove their innocence. That seems kind of backwards.


  62. 62
    RMD Says:

    I hope this link to a Dorsey Wright TA comment on energy opens, it’s worthwhile:

  63. 63
    zman Says:

    This one worked:

  64. 64
    choices Says:

    #61, Z, it is backwards but that is about standard for tax audits, dealing with IRS-I do not know how they can make that stick, however, as to presumed guilty until proven innocent of a tax felony.

    I have not read yet as to which jurisdictions are on the tax haven list but the US tax treaties with just about all jurisdictions should play a role in this-again legislation out of control.

  65. 65
    john11 Says:

    bogus closing KOG print…85

  66. 66
    zman Says:

    Choices – I’m not surprised by it as it pertains to the IRS. A lot of their dealings feel like that.

    RMD – thanks for that piece. I’d add that XOM and CVX are not as representative / influential in the “energy space” as they make it sound. Overlay CHK and XOM or XOM and XNG and he’d be hard pressed to make that argument stick. Especially on the weekly and monthly charts.

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