Thursday – Oil Review, Gas Preview + More Earnings

Market Sentiment Watch: Tomorrow we get 3Q GDP and I'd expect subdued trading today before it. While tech may be mourning AAPL's declining profit margins energy seems more reluctant to make a significant move here. All eye s are on crude which is a bit silly as it is out of running room unless the dollar takes another cliff dive and I'm told by chart types that it looks to be set for a turn higher, not lower. In energy land, earnings continue to trickle out before the true deluge hits next week. Today we have WLL (OK earnings, update on the exciting stuff wasn't quite ready), LINE (in line EBITDA and activity accelerating), NBL (very strong numbers but light on details ... should be a strong conference call). 

Ecodata Watch:

  • Jobless Claims came in at 434,000 vs 450,000 expected.

In today's post:

  1. Holdings Watch
  2. Commodity Watch
  3. Natural Gas Inventory Preview
  4. Oil Inventory Review
  5. Stuff  We Care About Today – WLL, NBL, LINE, EXXI, CXPO
  6. Odds & Ends

Holdings Watch: ZCAT (Zman Catalyst portfolio):

  • $5,200
  • 100% Cash
  • Yesterday’s Trades: None

ZIM (Zman Inefficient Markets portfolio)

  • $4,500
  • 3% Cash
  • Yesterday’s Trades: None

ZLT (Zman Long Term portfolio)

  • OAS – Sold a second tranche of OAS for $20.72, up 24% to my average cost.

Swapped into:

  • CXPO – Adding a second piece of CXPO at an average cost of just over $2.90 (the original buy in was $2.89). See comments in the Stuff section below.

Commodity Watch

Crude oil eased $0.61 to close at $81.94 yesterday after the EIA reported a bigger than expected build in crude stocks (largely due to imports) but strong demand for both gasoline and distillates. Gasoline rallied after the report and crude recovered from equity and dollar market induced losses suffered earlier in the morning. The recovery of distillate demand of late is more interesting than what will almost certainly prove to be an anomalous gasoline demand figure. This morning crude is trading flat.

Natural gas closed flat at $3.76 as the December contract became the prompt month today. We get a new set of supply data from EIA on Friday. Bulls' fingers are crossed for flattish production out of Louisiana and "other states", and smallish declines from OK, TX, NM, WY and a good sized dip from the Gulf. This morning gas is trading up slightly.

  • Tropics Watch: A number of organized cloud piles in the central Atlantic but nothing that looks imminently threatening.

Natural Gas Preview: I'm at 70 Bcf for today's storage number as we continue to be in the weatherless, shoulder season from hell.

  • Last Week: 93 Bcf Injection
  • Last Year: 24 Bcf Injection
  • 5 Year Average: 32 Bcf Injection
  • 10 year Hi: 69 Bcf Injection
  • 10 year Low: 9 Bcf Withdrawal

The Street is at 73 Bcf.

The Oil Inventory Review

Stuff  We Care About Today

CXPO - Yesterday's Deal Comments

  • I added to my CXPO position (the second of 3 or 4 buys that are typical for entrances on common shares for me) after seeing a private placement done with a Chinese investment firm at an 80% premium to the then current price. 
  • I don't see a lot of placements done at par or less than 10% in the hole so an 80% premium sort of stuck out there as odd.
  • The buyer took the equivalent of 10% of the now outstanding stock at $5 per share and can take nearly another 4% at the same price. Really odd.
  • Catalysts on the near term horizon are and Eagle Ford well and three east Texas middle Bossier tests------
  • 3Q production should post strong sequential growth as well.
  • But what did these buyers see that made them want to pay such an unnecessarily high premium?  I'll be looking into that.

EXXI Convertible Perpetual Preferred and Common Stock Offering

  • $200 mm in preferred
  • and 9.5 mm common shares (or another $200 mm or so)
  • My sense is MMR sells down some of its recently-acquired-from-PXP interests in the ultra deep shelf and that Schiller is on the hunt for more oily deep and conventional Shelf assets while the buying is good.
  • COP made comments yesterday that is is preparing to go back to the Gulf of Mexico in search of growth.

Earnings Watch:

WLL Reports Slight Miss; Not Sexy But Interesting Operations Update


  • 3Q Production was in the middle of the guidance range
  • Guidance:
    • 4Q guidance is 65.8 to 69.0 MBOEpd. Mid point is 2% higher than 3Q. 
    • This amounts to a reiteration of full year guidance.  Mid point of that = 16% YoY growth
    • 2011 ... not yet. I'd bet on low double digits when they do guide with the 4Q release. Recall that early this year the original projection was 11%. 
  • Sanish - continues to gather momentum,

    • Production up 11% sequentially, up 113--% YoY
    • But more importantly, WLL says downspacing is warranted and added 152 gross infill locations bringing their acreage here to hold a total of 534 Bakken locations.
    • Put 750,000 BOE EURs (gross) on that and it is significant relative to total co. YE09 proved reserves of 275 MMBOE.
    • Moreover, they've upped the Three Forks plan from 2 wells per 2 section unit to 3 wells. This adds another 80 potential TFS locations.
    • It's like waking up and finding out your land is worth a lot more than you thought.
  • Parshall - continues to decline (non-operated, large EOG wells)
  • Lewis & Clark: No well results update. The wells in the fiar way between the discovery well and the step outs announced earlier this month have not yet been completed nor has the near twin of the discovery well. Expect news on these wells before year end.
  • Enhanced Oil Recovery:

    • Some minor disruptions and logistical issues caused late quarter production to inch lower, this should not inhibit growth going forward.
  • Niobrara Update:
    • Acreage nearly doubled from 39,000 net as of the 2Q call to 64,000 net acres
    • WLL plans to spud two vertical wells in November 2010 (Catalyst Watch type stuff)
      • CWC of $1 to $1.5 mm
      • EUR of 100 to 125 MBOE
      • Success will turn this into a horizontal program. I don't think they have 3D over it yet to determine natural fracture orientation (you want to be perpendicular to those when you can be) but I'd bet they could get a shoot done there by the end of 1Q11.
  • Montana Update - Starbuck Prospect Area

    • 1st Bakken wells to be drilled on their 111K net acre position in what BEXP likes to call Rough Rider west and what people in Montana call Roosevelt and Sheridan counties. I don't have an exact location yet and neither does WLL as these spuds are set for 2Q11 (also Catalyst Watch type stuff).   Though half the size of Lewis and Clark this is likely to be WLL's next best shot at a new core area as it still dwarfs their original cores at Parshall and Sanish.
  • Hedges: 2011 is half hedged on oil with collars (Floors of $60, ceilings near $95)

Nutshell: As far as the quarterly results go, production was in line with guidance and revenues were ahead of estimates. Looking over the cost items, LOE seemed to stand out as bit pricey this quarter and would be enough to account for the slight miss along with higher than expected G&A. That may not play well with traders today but the stock remains one of the cheapest on forward cash flow amongst the Bakken players and execution has been and remains solid. Moreover, spending year to date remains easily within cash flow and the balance sheet is strong at 22% net debt to cap. I don't hold calls on WLL at present in the options portfolio but I continue to own the common in the ZLT.

Conference Call: Today, 11 am EST.

NBL Reports Stellar Results; Light on Operational Details;  But Smashing Numbers.


  • 3Q production was well above guidance of  212 to 220 MBOEpd
  • Guidance:
    • 2010 guiance is now 214 to 217 MBOEpd vs a prior range of 211 to 217 MBOEpd
  • Onshore US:
    • Niobrara program
      • was at 2 horizontal rigs,
      • was targeting 20 wells by YE10
      • shooting 3D, results have been said to be "strong"
      • We should get quite a bit more data on the call.

Conference Call: Today, 10 am EST

LINE Reports In LINE EBITDA, Activity Accelerating


  • Distribution coverage of 1.13 x for 3Q, with the higher distribution, guiding to 1.2x in 4Q10.
  • EPs of $0.38 vs $0.41 expected
  • Granite Wash - no new wells, 1 completing, 2 more waiting on completion, 3 drilling and just moved from a 3 to a 4 rig program.
  • Wolfberry - 2 rig program going to 5 by the end of this year.

Nutshell: Distribution increase accomplished, now working on the next one. More details on the call.

Conference Call: Today, 11 am EST

Odds & Ends



Analyst Watch:

  • CXPO - Stifel cuts them to Hold

160 Responses to “Thursday – Oil Review, Gas Preview + More Earnings”

  1. 1
    ram Says:

    If a buyer is paying $5 for CXPO, why would Stifel cut them to hold?

  2. 2
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    EXXI — last I will say about the re-issue of those perpet convert preferreds… I am wearing a T-shirt today that says "I'm with Stupid"
    Sums it up pretty nicely, I think.

  3. 3
    tomdavis12 Says:

    Z: I saw that some of the CXPO property was next to CHK – CNOOC property. Maybe CNOOC had done some extensive due diligience. They had plenty of time to do so.

  4. 4
    tomdavis12 Says:

    BOP: Do you know anything about Steve Weyel leaving? Was this an Aubrey – Tom Ward type of shotgun divorce or anything less dynamic? Thanks.

  5. 5
    elijahwc Says:

    OAS – RBC starts sector perform w/22 TP

  6. 6
    elijahwc Says:

    Random Rsch : NOV
    Global Hunter Securities, LLC: NOV: Initiating coverage with a Buy rating and $68 price target.

    NOV: [WSS] – 10-28   8:31 AM

    [Contact: Justin Cable – 949-274-8052] Summary: We are initiating coverage of NOV with the primary investment thesis that we are still in the middle of the newbuild rig cycle for both land and offshore. The downturn in orders that lasted from fall 2008 through summer 2010 was not the seventh inning stretch leading us to the final innings, but more of a rain delay in the third inning. We also believe that due to the economic crisis, we have yet to see the full leverage of the Grant Prideco acquisition in NOV's results, which we believe will be material to 2012 earnings.
    Newbuild floaters, not just a Brazil story. The recent Petrobras (PBR) equity raise supported the thesis that orders for floaters are likely to occur in 2011. The expectation is for the first group of seven drillships and two semis to be ordered in 1H 2011. However, it is our belief that the full newbuild story is global and our expectation is for a minimum of eight incremental floaters will be ordered in the next two years. This is based off the development needs in W. Africa, the GOM (US and Mexico) and other Brazil needs. We estimate that NOV wins approximately 70% of the new awards and that the emphasis on safety keeps the barriers to entry into this market very high.

    Jackup newbuild cycle is secular story. The recent orders by several drillers, both public and private, is indicative of a secular shift towards higher specification equipment. We have been following this intently for several years and believe that the cycle was only temporarily derailed in 2008 and can conceivably foresee in excess of 100 newbuild jackups over the next five years.

    Land rig newbuild needs are vastly under-estimated by analysts. A key driver for orders for the next several years will also come from land rigs and NOV is not given enough credit for its position in the premium land rig market. For example, Russia has over 800 land rigs drilling, of which only an estimated 20% have top drives. Our current estimate for Iraq is 40 newbuilds in the next three years and Saudi Aramco has just begun to upgrade technology. All in, we put the addressable market at 590 new land rigs over the next three years and expect NOV to win 140 to 150 of those orders.

    FPSO market is a substantial growth driver, not yet seen in estimates. The acquisition of Advanced Production and Loading, PLC should lead to a large increase in new orders over the next several years. We have identified 34 newbuild FPSO's that are expected to be ordered in the next three years. This may prove conservative as it only includes stated plans by operators. If oil prices remain steady and the credit market improves in 2011 that number could have substantial upside.

    PS&S segment still has upside on pricing and operating leverage. The Grant Prideco acquisition occurred just before the market cratered in 2008 and the results of that acquisition have yet to be seen materially in NOV's results. With its substantial share of the premium pipe and connectors market (used broadly in horizontal drilling), revenues should increase steadily and incremental margins should be in the 30% to 40% each of the next four quarters (3Q 2010 posted 46% incremental margins).

    Consensus estimates too low for 2011 and 2012. Although we expect estimates to increase following the company's Q3 earnings report, we do not expect consensus to hit our $3.67 estimate for 2011 or our $4.40 estimate for 2012, which are among the highest on the street. As some analysts take a wait and see approach to orders, we believe that NOV is set up for beat and raise quarters into 2011, therefore, making NOV an appealing investment for a long-term value, catalyst based and momentum investing.

    Risk in next two quarters. As year end capital budgets are spent and 2011 investments ramp, we are only forecasting $600 million in orders for Q4 2010 and Q1 2011, leading to Q2 2011 as the trough in earnings for NOV. We believe that the market recognizes this risk and the stock should be supported on the basis of the PBR orders coming in Q2 2011.

  7. 7
    bill Says:

    robry at +67 and yoy storage now positive

  8. 8
    zman Says:

    Tom – had not given that any thought, hmm, looking at it.

    Ram – I just take the investment as a good sign that pending operational news is more than likely to have a positive bent. We don't have rates on EFS wells yet but the company could have shown them highly flourescing cores or talked about big shows during dirlling (not to start a rumor as I've heard nothing of the sort about their Eagleford effort). As to Stifel, they probably had a $3 target which was met and took the opportunity to downgrade and cash out.

  9. 9
    jat Says:

    Z, general question.  Refinery turnaround is over, distillate demand is holding up well, and we're getting closer to winter.  Why would crude, fundamentally, be weaker during this period if gasoline doesn't die?
    I don't disagree that crude feels over done, and so much has been due to the QE/DXY trade, but I'm thinking through the other side of the argument…

  10. 10
    jat Says:

    elijah, for NOV, is he valuing off 2012 to get to 68?

  11. 11
    tomdavis12 Says:

    Eli: B Handler @ CSFB also upgraded price target for NOV from $54 – $60 and has at outperform.

  12. 12
    elijahwc Says:

    Coal Stuff : MEE, methinks they will get the $55 prior to year end and not as a result of stong Met Coal pricing.
    rBrean Murray / Carret & CO – Increasing TP to $55 Largely on back of Strong Met Coal Pricing
     MEE: [WSS] – 10-28   7:07 AM
    [Contact: Sales and Trading – 212-702-6500] Massey Energy reported a 3Q10 miss and lowered 2011 guidance, largely due to increased regulatory scrutiny. However, more importantly, management confirmed on the conference call some extremely bullish data points (such as the fact that its new business was booked in 3Q10 at $155-160/short ton at the mine, which was roughly $45/ton more than what we had been modeling in). As a result, we are significantly raising our 2011 estimates and target price (to $55, from $39 previously). Despite the recent strong run in Massey’s stock price, the company continues to be among the most attractive in our universe, and we remain fairly aggressive buyers at current levels. As we said in our October 6th initiation, “the company’s growing met coal exposure and leading Central Appalachian position make its assets among the most attractive in our universe.” Given that management addressed, but didn’t shoot down a possibility of a sale on the call, we believe this will continue to be a focus among investors going forward.


    Weak 3Q10 Results and Lower 2011 Guidance: Massey reported a 3Q10 miss with EBITDA coming in at $77 million versus consensus estimates of $112 million. Normalized EPS came in at $(0.27), versus consensus EPS estimates of $(0.16). The main reason for the miss was lower productivity due to increased regulatory scrutiny. In addition, Massey lowered its 2011 guidance across the board. However, we’d note this was already more than baked into our estimates going into 3Q10.

    Strong Pricing for High Quality Met Coal: On the conference call, management confirmed bullish reports that Grade A high-vol met coal is selling for as much as $180/short ton at the mine. Importantly, Massey averaged $155-160/ton for the new volume that it priced during 3Q10 for 2011. That is roughly $45/ton higher than we had been modeling in. While management was bullish on higher quality met coal, that wasn’t the case for lower quality met coal. (In fact, Massey was fairly cautious on lower quality met coal products.)

    Update on Strategic Review: On the conference call, management openly addressed the recent takeover chatter. Massey reiterated that an annual strategic review is part of doing business, but also stressed that the “[UBB] tragedy and resultant ongoing impacts on costs and productivity have negatively influenced share price. The Board is focused on optimizing shareholder value.” Massey’s CEO Don Blankenship said that “[the Board members] are conducting a very deliberate process to consider all options.” Given that the company did not shoot down the possibility of a sale, we believe this will continue to be a big focus among investors.

  13. 13
    elijahwc Says:

    jat – NOV, I believe so, but I have only seen the summary, not the model.

  14. 14
    zman Says:

    Analyst Watch

    PXD – RBC bumps target $14 to $89, reit Outperform.

    PXD – Barclays ups target $7 to $72, rating stays Equal Weight

  15. 15
    zman Says:

    Jat – Not looking for a big pullback, but we need to see exports rally to support what has been in the summer, and what will increasingly be this early winter, distillate production that is too high for demand and bloated storage. If we see distillate demand remain strong I have to assume the export market is picking back up, (surely it's not trucks on the road stock shelves for Christmas). Will go check the SUN transcript for thoughts on this. 

  16. 16
    zman Says:

    NBL leaping pre market, that was a big beat, wish they'd spend more time writing the ops section. Call will be interesting.

  17. 17
    elijahwc Says:


    C.K. Cooper & Co has an industry report (brain dump) out titled, Niobrara – The Neo Bakken?

    US based oil plays are hard to come by, so it’s no wonder that EOG Resources’ impressive initial results from their Jake well in Weld County, Colorado set off a stampede of operators trying to gain early entry into the Niobrara oil play. Since the announcement, acreage costs for prospective Niobrara leases have skyrocketed from $10/ACRE in 2007 to over $3,000/ACRE and applications for horizontal well permits have increased significantly.

    "But our analysis of production data from old and new horizontal Niobrara wells suggests that the level of excitement we are seeing in the play may be premature and does not support higher value acreage cost."
    Don't know much about the analyst at C. K. Cooper, but boy is he going to wrong on that last statement.

  18. 18
    zman Says:

    CRR = bad quote?  Quarter was a beat. Noting that Tom's Williston fund has CRR as it's number 1 position, ahead of BEXP and the other Bakkens.

  19. 19
    tomdavis12 Says:

    Eli: As you know more about the EXXI cv pfrd, please post . I see the prospectus is available @ http://www.sec.gov and the over allotments can push to 500MM. 200MM is very small. When do you think the symbol will be available?

  20. 20
    bill Says:

    bulker update
    cautiously optimistic

  21. 21
    ram Says:

    One of these days I might have something leaping pre-market.  Very frustrating.

  22. 22
    zman Says:

    Re 17. Funny – SSN – has had a slide entitled just that for the last year. I don't know that CK Cooper covers them. Hmmm. They were paid the "over $3,000" referenced as most deals have been cheaper than that so far.   I think there is some premature excitement in the play given results to date but agree, he will likely be wrong. It will not take many months for that to happen either.

  23. 23
    zman Says:

    Ram – thought you had WLL, up $2 at the open.

  24. 24
    elijahwc Says:

    #19 On the symbol, depends on the company but probally OTC day of or following deal.  We will probally have to watch the pinks and trace initally.

  25. 25
    ram Says:

    Yes, premiums evaporated, hopefully keeps moving north.  I hope WLL does not just read the press release during the CC.

  26. 26
    bill Says:

    exxi down 9 % , Is this the LOD

  27. 27
    zman Says:

    NBL in complete break out.

  28. 28
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    bill — if i was a bettin' gal, I would say that EXXI gets below $21.  Why wait to short the stock, ahead of getting converts… short it now for more $$.
    Guessing the 2ndary prices around 20.50.  But that is just my guess…

  29. 29
    zman Says:

    MMR – early fade in sympathy with EXXI. Ludicrous to think that your partner upping their cash pile hurts you, especially when you have the for sale sign out on some joint projects.

  30. 30
    zman Says:

    NBL – depending on comments on the Niobrara on the CC, we could see PETD, REXX, SM, WLL, EOG, and SSN get a bump. 

  31. 31
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    I wanted some more EXXI at Fire Sale prices… I am going to get more EXXI at fire sale prices.
    There are two points, where I think EXXI hits a low… 1) just before pricing of the 2ndary, and 2) in the week or so after the converts are placed.  What can throw a wrench into this is if/when there is a positive update from DJ#2 and/or BBE.  So, lots of balls in the air right now. 

  32. 32
    zman Says:

    BOP – just for grins, thinking the price is $21.50, that's $204 mm pre fees, add the shooe to that and you have $200 mm of stocks and $200 mm of your dreaded CPP.

  33. 33
    tomdavis12 Says:

    BOP: Do you have a sense as to why they are in a hurry? As I recollect on the Mitsui deal, shortly afterward they had their good news re DJ & BBE. Why would they not want to wait and possibly get a better price? I see their balance sheet will be in better shape to do another deal.    

  34. 34
    ram Says:

    That didn't last long for WLL.  Bumps will be appreciated.

  35. 35
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    z — you may be right.  We shall see.
    Guessing that EXXI wants to raise about $1B in net proceeds.  So, I expect we will see some sort of debt deal — either unsecured notes or bank term notes — in addition to this equity raise.  That makes any asset acqn less (or non) dilutive. 
    Schiller musta seen stuff he would like to buy on the shelf… and he wants to sit at the negotiating table with a pocket stuffed with cash, in order to get the best terms.  No "ummm…. could you wait a sec while I go and issue some stock to pay for this?"  Nope.  Just lay out the terms and close the deal. 

  36. 36
    bill Says:


  37. 37
    zman Says:

    Re 33, see COP comment in post for a possible reason for haste.

  38. 38
    zman Says:

    NBL call in 10 minutes

    WLL and LINE calls in 1 hour and 10 minutes. Torn on who to listen to, looking for news from LINE on the Cooper (granite wash well), looking for lots of different things on the WLL call. Probably going to listen to WLL as I read a blurb from one normally good brokerage firm that missed some big points in the pr. 

  39. 39
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    z #37 — was thinking that, yes….

  40. 40
    Dman Says:

    #9   http://www.seasonalcharts.com/future_energie_crudeoil.html
    Not a fundamental explanation, but Oct-Nov does usually see a dip.

  41. 41
    zman Says:

    RMD – was there Wolfcreek/fork/berry news out overnight to drive AREX today?

  42. 42
    zman Says:

    NBL Notes

    Horizontal Niobrara seen as 4 plays

    1) Core Wattenberg where historically this has been a vertical play

    2) north and west Wattenberg – encouraged by flow rates

    3) North in Colorado

    4) Wyoming – Weld county

    … more later on the call…

  43. 43
    zman Says:

    LINE – tripping through $34, new 52 week high, all time high levels from 34 to 40 back in 2007. 

  44. 44
    zman Says:

    NBL Notes 2

    Niobrara horizontals 2 rigs running in central Wattenburg

    15 Hz wells on here, recent wells IPs of 500 to 800 BOpd, high oil cut, 

    Colorado – 500 to 600 BOpd, with 85% liquids cut, less natural fractures

    SE Wyoming – drilling 2nd of 3 wells, using 3D, 1st well fracced this week, no data back yet. This area has more natural fractures than the CO area referenced above. SSN is not too far from here. 

    Plan to double Hz Niobrara  activity next year. 

    The wells to date have been short to medium length laterals (3,000 to 5,000') and these kind of IPs remind me of 2 years ago in the Bakken. IPs and EURs are likely in my experience to rise as the operators come up the drilling and completion curve and identify the more and less naturally fractured areas.  

  45. 45
    zman Says:

    NG inventories in 10 minutes. 

  46. 46
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    post-announcement, the only analyst to publicly step up to the plate on EXXI is Duane Grubert (who — I think — "gets" the story here, bettern anybody).  He stuck with his $35, 12-month, risk-adjusted PT this morning. 

  47. 47
    1520sbroad Says:

    +71 BCF – now dead on last year levels.

  48. 48
    zman Says:

    Thanks 1520. 

    NG off a dime…. need weather. 

  49. 49
    zman Says:

    NBL – Niobrara comment. 

    2 to 3 weeks to drill the horizontal wells, another month to get them completed due to scheduling. Makes me think CHK won't have news from the Niobrara on their 3Q call unless they really were set with a frac crew on those first 2 wells. 

  50. 50
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    ATPG — lack of news has enboldened the shorts again.  Sure would like to hear them publicly-state that they got the next two MC deepwater well permits… but, keep in mind that ATPG is a development (not exploration) company.  So, we aren't holding our breath, waiting for a DavyJones-type well here.  Just need to operationally plod ahead with their plans.  BOEMR is truly a BUMMER.

  51. 51
    RMD Says:

    41 nothing I've seen on AREX, though I did think when I read your WLL Niobrara #s, that PXD's latest call had better numbers than that on their verticals in the Wolfees, with horizontals to go.  PXD was downbeat about AREX's acreage (to the south of them) but they have no holdings.  Maybe EP and EOG shed some light on next week's conf. calls.

  52. 52
    1520sbroad Says:

    big weather shift on tap for northeast tomorrow – today his in low 70's – tomorrow highs in low 50s
    I will begin heating season tomorrow at my house

  53. 53
    zman Says:


    NBL – Added an $80 November call for $1.25 with the stock at 78.60. Call ongoing after strong quarterly results. See site for further details. 

  54. 54
    zman Says:

    re 52. That will be much appreciated. 

  55. 55
    zman Says:

    Thanks RMD – I have the paper copy presentation on my back desk. 

    WLL and LINE calls in 5 minutes. 

  56. 56
    zman Says:

    CXPO fading with group, downgrade. Saw Rodman piece applauding management for the price of the deal (no kidding) but not taking a stab at explaining it. 

  57. 57
    zman Says:

    WLL and LINE calls about to start, I'll be on WLL. Holding both in the ZLT. 

    WLL down 2.45 pre call, LINE flat. 

  58. 58
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    #56 — file under "FWIW"
    Typically, you need to wait 3 days for the definitive reaction to something like the CXPO deal (or a major earnings disappointment).  First day is euphoria.   2nd day is "hmmmm… what really happened?  stock not moving… sell."  3rd day is "no one seems to care, so i don't care anymore."  4th day is more clear-headed thinking… and an indication of where the stock price will ultimately move (up or back down.)

  59. 59
    zman Says:

    re 58. Agreed. I was already in waiting on wells so I some extra confidence from the deal and the room it gives them on their budget next year. 

    WLL slides


  60. 60
    zman Says:

    WLL – Notes 1

    Walking through Sanish field results, 30, 60, 90 day avg rates continue to climb

    The first cross unit well in Sanish, the Rohde well IP'd at 3,293 boepd, nice

    Going over the plan to add more wells per unit as outlined in the post.  

  61. 61
    elijahwc Says:

    Niobrara name DBLE seeing the luv.  Rptd a beat this am.
    On the market it appears that the new pattern is to take 'em down in the am and bring 'em up into the afternoon.

  62. 62
    RMD Says:

    some chatter that Chinese wanted into CXPO on IPO and were shut out, so coming back now at the IPO price..  Got a BofD seat.  (FWIW, I find this a bit lame, )

  63. 63
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    elijah — on the DBLE call right now.  Dick Dole doing his usual thing and showing to the world that he is an Accountant and not a geo-person.
    DBLE has pretty significant Niobrara potential…. but it's Purely Accidental.  File under:  "Blind Squirrel Finds Pile of Nuts."

  64. 64
    zman Says:

    WLL – 3 more wells at Lewis & Clark (mid play and against the discovery well in one case) will be press released around Nov 15. These are longer and 30 stages. Could see some of the best Three Forks results in the Williston. 

    L&C – now 232K net acres, up 7 K from mid year. 

    WLL – talking about the WAG process in its EOR projects – this is part of the reason for them not coming in high to production, there is a cyclical behavior as they switch between CO2 and water to control gas break through and efficiently sweep oil. They had a mechanical breakdown with a compressor in the Q and this has been fixed but crimped production slightly this quarter. 

  65. 65
    AAA Says:

    BOP,  if the geniuses at EXXI wanted some powder for a possible deal, wouldn't it have made more sense to just get a standby credit line instead of wrecking the common with a convert?  Now they have crapped in their own nests and will have to place the common at a big discount.
    I see the potential for this company but this kind of thing makes it hard to own.

  66. 66
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    AAA #65 — kerPLUNK!!
    That is the sound of you, hitting the nail on the head.
    The problem here with EXXI are the pesky 16s they had to issue, to escape the Boulder of Death that was hanging over their heads.  Those bonds were set up — from the beginning — to be taken out as soon as possible (first call next june).  What i don't think Schiller anticipated at the time he had to do those 16s is the nice rebound in oil prices plus the enormity of the Ultra-Deep program.  Layer on top of that the Macondo incident that has driven a lot of juicy shallow shelf packages onto the market right now. 
    "Timing" is everything… and Schiller is having to deal with the hand that he dealt himself.  Those 16s are 2nd lien secureds with obnoxious covenants.  There is not enough room for banks to sqeeze in between the credit facility and those notes.  So, issue equity, tender for a good chunk of the 16s, THEN your bankers will give you what you need.

  67. 67
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    by "enormity of the Ultra-Deep" I mean the enormous, positive potential of the Ultra-Deep. 

  68. 68
    kaman Says:

    AXAS up 5%, higher than norm volume
    Was not around yesterday, so excuse if repetitive…KOG downgrade was due to Stifel analyst's "fear" of more dilution?

  69. 69
    zman Says:

    WLL Notes

    – paying about $400 / ac for W. Tx Bone Springs acreage.  They have drilled 2 wells and are testing now. 

    – Next L&C well, 1 of the 3 due by mid Nov, had some difficulties early on, just starting to flow back now. This I had expected to be  released with this pr. They said what they are seeing with the well is very good, so a little delay but not in trouble on the well. This one is the Ellison Creek well which is a neighbor to the Federal well that was a 15 stage frac and IP of 1970 boepd (the original modern disco well in the TFS here).  The Ellison is a 30 stage frac well.   

  70. 70
    AAA Says:

    BOP,  ok, I see.  So this is basically a bite the bullet moment for LT holders?  Lot of moving parts here.  I take it your plan is to try to add significantly when the deal prices?  Any more shoes to drop after that?

  71. 71
    zman Says:

    LINE through $34, will listen to replay as soon as off this WLL call, and it becomes available.

  72. 72
    tomdavis12 Says:

    EXXI could also be subject to mutual fund year end selling by 10/29 since it has been a significant gain for most funds on a YTD basis.

  73. 73
    tomdavis12 Says:

    WLL – Volker seems to still have a smile on his face.

  74. 74
    zman Says:

    re 72 … or people will want to be seen as owning it for the 40 Tcf gross reserves that could be proved up during 2011 in the great Davy Jones area, not to mention Blackbeard, Lafitte, Captain Blood etc. 

  75. 75
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    Lots of moving parts, yes.  But not "too many" moving parts.  What EXXI is doing is manageable (insofar as we know what they plan to do next).  The important points are 1) they are maily oil production, 2) got thru hurricane season with no outages, so sitting on more cash flow than they thought they would have at this point, 3) they are very good a "buy and exploit", 4) 2011 capex program is fully-funded from internal cash flow, leaving extra to "pay down debt" (or do expensive tenders… ugh), 5) they have a goodly (but not too large) chunk of MMR's Ultra-Deep program, 6) the best time to buy assets is when everyone else is running screaming from the room. 
    Only moving part that has yet to fall in place is what/where/who from/how much/and how large is the asset acquisition they have in mind.  That is the last (?) shoe we are waiting to hear about.  Historically, Schiller has been a Wiz-Banger at buying shallow shelf assets in and around LA and TX and they coaxing more oily reserves out at great "per added-barrel" prices.  If this next acqtn does NOT fit into his area of Distinctive Competence (to use a McKinsey term i despise), then I will probably head for the door.  But until then, I will wait and see what Schiller wants to do that is SO COMPELLING that he is cr*pping his own nest.

  76. 76
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    EXXI — and yes.  I intend to add on weakness here.

  77. 77
    tomdavis12 Says:

    Z: 72 I was just pointing out that if there is any unusual selling pressure from mutual funds, that will be over as of Monday. 

  78. 78
    zman Says:

    re 77, ok, I hear ya,  thought you were thinking calendar year end. 

  79. 79
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    We all knew EXXI would be out with a capital raise to do a large asset deal.  What I didn't expect was that they would do the equity component first and re-issue the (criminally-insanely-stupid) PCPs.  Don't know if we will hear about a debt deal next, or an asset purchase next.  But those should follow.  Where i tripped up was in thinking all those parts would be announced/revealed at once, so that we would have a better picture of the overall value propostion here.  But, for reasons I am guessing he can't control, Schiller is only able to whack us with the Big Stick first… then show us the Doggy Treats later.  Makes for an uncomfortable Day and the Dog Park, I know.

  80. 80
    zman Says:

    WLL – call almost over, positive, not sure that matters today but should next couple of weeks. 

  81. 81
    tomdavis12 Says:

    Z: Thought the WLL call showed some very impressive well economics. If there was a turn off to operational problems or misunderstanding about CO2 costs, that is all just temporary noise. I am happy with my long position. 

  82. 82
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    Comments and observations from Cross-Asset Class Strategist —

  83. 83
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    Decision made… sticking out fluffy little paw for EXXI common at $20.50.  I think it prices there.  When it trades lower, will add the PCPs just for spite (and income). 

  84. 84
    tomdavis12 Says:

    BOP: EXXI common scheduled to be priced tonight.

  85. 85
    john11 Says:

    Does the pref get priced tonite also Tom?

  86. 86
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    Good to hear, tomdavis. 
    If that's the case, we might see a huge downdraft in the stock price into the close.  Gots the paw out.

  87. 87
    zman Says:

    LINE replay not yet available, grabbing lunch, market marking time in front of GDP. 

    Oil and NG essentially flat. 

  88. 88
    tomdavis12 Says:

    EXXI pfrd also being priced tonight. 

  89. 89
    john11 Says:

    Thx Tom

  90. 90
    tomdavis12 Says:

    BOP: The movement of EXXI tonight will be a function of how the book is shaping up. Big demand and you could see the common strengthen into the close. The opposite is also true. That is not to say your cute little paw might not catch something.

  91. 91
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    Hunkered down in the weeds, fluffy little paw in position… awaiting juicy EXXI antelope. 

  92. 92
    elijahwc Says:

    td – Pfd price talk 5.625 to 6.125% w/premium of 17 to 22.5% over common.  Pretty attractive.  Can't believe they couldn't get better terms.  Lower coupon or bigger premium.  Could be wrong but this iswhat I'm hearing.  Hope the common gets smashed and buy the cvt.

  93. 93
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    elijah — EXXI CFO (David Griffin) is in the running for Stupidest CFO of a Public Company, Ever. 
    They can't fire his mangy butt soon enuf for me.

  94. 94
    RobBanks Says:

    z – LINE's Q3 presentation is showing they are 100% hedged through 2013. Hedges look OK, but I guess I'd rather they left some upside.

  95. 95
    john11 Says:

    Rob on conference call LINE mentioned that hedges included many puts thereby allowing them exposure to the upside.

  96. 96
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    Just picked up by HeadTrader —
    Halliburton sinks ~0.60 on heavy volume, as headlines regarding a report from the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill cross the wires (33.04 -1.38)According to Bloomberg, the report said three tests of cement mixture found the mixture to be unstable.

  97. 97
    zman Says:

    Rob – They have been essentially a fully hedged story for a long time. The upside comes as the new organic growth exceeds prior hedging levels. With the big picture idea being that they are now beginning to walk the distribution and the distribution coverage ratio up. They have been negative on natural gas for quite some time and bet against it early. Last I saw they were layering in hedges in the mid to late 20teens. This has the effect of lifting the unit price when commodity prices fall. But when they rise, the shares seem to move with the group. My biggest worry here (and it doesn't kick in for awhile) will be when rates move back up and the spread between their yields and treasuries contracts. They will have to continue to offset by boosting the distribution of the price will likely contract to boost the yield. 

  98. 98
    elijahwc Says:

    KOG downgrade distribution over the last couple days may be over???  Looks to go green.

  99. 99
    zman Says:

    John, good point, thinking it was 100% to the downside and 60% to the upside, but going by memory, have not listened to the call yet.

    BOP – thanks for reporting that, had not looked up yet to see my HAL falling off so quickly. If you think back to the hearings, HAL performed the cement job and SLB was to test it but BP prevented some of the testing. HAL should respond to those comments in the near term as they have aggressively defended their roll on past occasions here. 

  100. 100
    1520sbroad Says:

    #92 –  those cvts going to 144 only or public too?

  101. 101
    zman Says:

    Presidential panel throwing grenades. 


  102. 102
    RobBanks Says:

    Ah, ok, so production may outgrow the hedged amounts. That would be a plus.
    Yes, almost everything I own is interest rate sensitive. It's gonna be a real scramble to figure out what to do when rates start to go up. But we have quite a while, I'm thinking.

  103. 103
    zman Says:

    HAL off 10% now

  104. 104
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    HAL sell off seems overdone… and there is some confusion out there.  For example, HT thought the headlines pertained to the final cement plugging job… he worried that the well would leak again.
    HT doesn't do energy for a living… but he is a good gauge of what otherwise smart people might think. 

  105. 105
    zman Says:

    HAL fell straight to the 200 day. 

  106. 106
    jat Says:

    This is great, I'm backing up the truck.  

  107. 107
    zman Says:

    Hear ya Jat, mulling. 

  108. 108
    RobBanks Says:

    john, re 95, thanks.
    And about those hedges – nothing is etched in stone. I seem to remember LINE taking a $60mm write down to redo their hedges in mid 2008, at the very peak of oil-gas prices, a move that has been paying off richly ever since.

  109. 109
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    HAL… finally something on my screen that is down more than EXXI.  HAL getting whacked with the Stupid Stick, for shore.

  110. 110
    elduque Says:

    Z- when do we get the monthly supply nos?

  111. 111
    zman Says:

    re 110 – tomorrow. 

  112. 112
    zman Says:

    That presidential panel just gave an early Christmas present to BP, implying negligence at HAL, which could arguably circumvent HAL's indemnification as a BP contractor.  

  113. 113
    elijahwc Says:

    #100 regisetered on the EXXI's.  Also I confirmed the price talk elsewhere @ 5.625 to 6.125%, 17 – 22% premium for the strike, 3yr callable, 200mil + 30mil overallocation.  Interesting was told interest might be  moderate because the common doesn't trade with enough liquidity to really excite the Arbs and thinking about it there is some truth to this as witnessed by the hammering the stock takes on the news.  Both ways actually. 
    ===good, good, good, if you have the opp to buy in the aftermkt at a discount.

  114. 114
    ram Says:

    Would HAL be considered toxic in the near term?

  115. 115
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    elijah — just got off the phone with a HF buddy who is one of The Best, when it comes to nosing out value where fixing income meets equity.  He is putting in for the PCPs.  He can't believe EXXI is issuing those… and, since he also owns the equity, he is foaming at the mouth, like i am.  But he is going to get even  by buying the PCPs.

  116. 116
    zman Says:

    re 114 – Not by me but by some. Helpful, I know. CDS ballooned on the news as no doubt BP's lawyers (along with everyone elses) are going to come after them (even more now).

  117. 117
    elijahwc Says:

    #113 EXXI, forgot to add that I was also told that some instituions have expressed concern over holding a perpetual instrument which if rates go against them the might own forever.  
    This also works in your favor as obviously those institutions are not in touch with the story so maybe it trades soft and you can buy some at a discount.
    If you truely believe, as I do in the EXXI thesis (thanks BOP), then if bought (the cvts) on a discount, EXXI can NEVER get rid of you except on your terms and has to pay a nice rent check in between.

  118. 118
    Alhambra Says:

    how do we common folk participate in those exxi pcp's?

  119. 119
    elijahwc Says:

    BOP – just saw your #115.  In the word of messr Kennedy, "it won't be just getting even, it will be getting back." 

  120. 120
    elijahwc Says:

    #118 , probally be an OTC symbol (like the old one, EEXXF) showing up in the pinks, http://www.pinksheets.com and certainly a cusip tommorrow. 

  121. 121
    jat Says:

    If you read through the letter from the Deepwater Commission, the final cement test prior to the job was found to be stable.  Even if it was not, the letter states that BP/RIG personnel still failed to conduct or properly interpret the negative pressure test and cement evaluation logs. 

  122. 122
    AAA Says:

    Re the EXXI, if that much convert is placed, won't there be arb pressure on the common for weeks, considering how thin it trades?  It's not like you can go in and short $200 mill on the bid.

  123. 123
    zman Says:

    Jat – I agree with you on all that, just happened to be in calls on it at the time, ouch. These tests are not as cut and dry as the panel or the press would like to make them either. 

  124. 124
    zman Says:

    And Jat, I would suspect HAL will have a sharp rebuttal after the close or before the open. 

    We have FSLR after the close, not playing this quarter. 

  125. 125
    zman Says:

    Listening to the LINE replay.

  126. 126
    1520sbroad Says:

    Thanks to all on the EXXI cvts – i'll be watching for those in the aftermkt.  If anyone sees a symbol for them please post.

  127. 127
    elduque Says:

    Not every Thursday we get a move up in NG. Wow!!!!

  128. 128
    elijahwc Says:

    #122 Hope so
    Also, please anyone with interest in buying in the aftermarket.  You do not have to rush into this and become you own competetion.  In my experience it often takes days for new issue converts to break.  Lucky if it happens one day one.  If not you should sit on your hands and watch a while.  Underwiters often price support.

  129. 129
    elijahwc Says:

    #128 somebody throw me a spell checker.

  130. 130
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    elijah — didn't notice until you mentioned them… lol
    Anyway, please use these converts to educate the board about converts… this is a GREAT issue to use as a Real Life Experience.  I look forward to all your comments (and never mind about the spelling!)

  131. 131
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    AAA #122 — that is exactly what happened last time.  Until news from DJ#1 sent EXXI common on a skyward trajectory.  Two to three weeks of PAIN.

  132. 132
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    HAL — haven't looked.  But heard HAL posted their Macondo contract on their website today… to show that BP indemnified them on the cement job.  Unless the Obama Administration wants to overturn contract law, then HAL is not on the hook for the quality of their cement job.
    Oh.  Wait.  "Overturn contract law" is what this Community Organizing Administration is BEST at.  (ref:  "greedy Chrysler BONDholders!!")

  133. 133
    bill Says:

    132, lol best laugh of the day

  134. 134
    ram Says:

    ZMAN – I decided to use the HAL weakness to start accumulating the common.

  135. 135
    zman Says:

    I don't think indemnification covers gross negligence which would appear to be what the govt is at with the phrase "ignored Macondo cement flaws". I watched the inquisition and came to my own conclusion … that they are not to blame but … oh well. 

  136. 136
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    BP would have to prove that HAL was grossly negligent… but that would undermine their own position as operator.  "You did a HORRIBLE JOB, but we aren't going to run a cement log to confirm it.  Go away, SLB.  Let's just bring this puppy on line."
    The logic just doesn't work here.  No matter HOW twisted they pretzel it.

  137. 137
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    Buy-side buddy called to tell me that there is a rumor out there that EXXI is going to do a "large acquisition." 
    Well…. DUH!!  We've been talking about that on this site for weeks?  Months??  something like that….

  138. 138
    ram Says:

    EXXI is getting pulled to 21.50, imagine that.

  139. 139
    jat Says:

    Simmons went through the BP contract and they're saying HAL is indemified even if there was a case of gross negligence. 
    I've read the contract but it's a tough slog.  One of the reasons I quit banking was to get out of reading mucho legalese. 

  140. 140
    zman Says:

    re 138, see 32, lol. 

    Thanks Jat, 


  141. 141
    zman Says:

    FSLR beats EPS but margins lower, sinks shares. 

  142. 142
    elijahwc Says:

    Z #141 on the other hand if you own the Solar & Windmill power inverters, e.g. PWER, you get .40 vs .23 expected and revs 314mil vs 265 expected.  up 17% @ 13 afterhours.
    Sorry, could'nt resist.  Working up to take wife, daughter, niece & beloved mom in law out to dinner.
    Whayathink – 2 or three martinis?

  143. 143
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    hearing price talk on EXXI common = 20.75 to 21.00

  144. 144
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    EXXI upsizes offering to 12mm shares and prices common stock at $20.75… see comment #28 lol
    Waiting to hear where the PESKY converts price.

  145. 145
    AAA Says:

    BOP,  I guess giving the existing shareholders a 20% beatdown is their idea of how to encourage LT investors.  These corporate guys make me want to puke.  They bitch and moan about S-T traders, then they stick it to you like this.  They are going to join HK and CHK on my "Do Not Buy" list.

  146. 146
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    AAA — thank you for your thoughts.  There is NO WAY i am going to launch an argument against your position.  I feel that way about CHK and PXP and SD, fwiw.  
    A lot of very smart — very honorable — people feel the same way you do.  I can feel the steam coming outta my ears over the PCPs.  Not going to walk away.   But this is my last Rodeo with these guys. 

  147. 147
    AAA Says:

    BOP, having said that, I wonder if the PCPs aren't a good way of averaging down.  I fear the common will take another dump when they do the big acquisition. 

  148. 148
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    AAA — i just stepped back to the computer… b/c i feel awful about losing your confidence…  I just want ALL of us to make $$.
    This EXXI thing is beyond irritating.  I think it speaks to having sufficient grounds to firing the CFO… But we KNEW an asset purchase was coming.  And those pescky 16s are standing in the way.  It's not what i would have done, as CFO.   But i still think EXXI is a 30-dollar stock by Christmas. 
    If you're mad — like me — get EVEN by buying the PCPs!!  I can't believe that EXXI is picking up that SAME ROCK and BASHING themselves in the head again.  You would have thought the PAIN from dealing with the 7.25s would have taught them something.  jeeeeeezzzzzz/

  149. 149
    AAA Says:

    BOP,  Sorry if I implied you lost my confidence b/c you haven't.  Not by a long shot.  You raised this as a possibility repeatedly, and in truth , the chart of EXXI was giving big time sell signals the last coulel of weeks.  Anyway, I am small in it and not down by much.  Mainly the whole episode just ticks me off because it seems so dumb.
    I'll definitely be getting some of the PCPs.  They will be our revenge.

  150. 150
    tomdavis12 Says:

    BOP: EXXI pfrd 90% taken by instutions. Traded higher before market close. May be priced @ $250/sh instead of $25.  

  151. 151
    bill Says:

    If exxi is a good play, isnt the common a better place to play.
    One could write options for income and  easily get 7 % a year

  152. 152
    Jerome Blank Says:

    EXXI remains on a  P&F buy signal in O's…dialing down to the 30 min chart, buyers came in at the end of the day to print a minor hammer near the daily 50 day SMA, difficult gap down, but otherwise held up fairly well given all that is going on…for longer term traders there is major weekly support at $19.50 which would be a huge buy point if it actually gets there…from where EXXI is trading now, it reverses back into X's at the previous resistance zone at $24…   

  153. 153
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  154. 154
    zman Says:

    Thanks JB, as always, good stuff.

    Simmons out with a piece saying the HAL news was not news and to expect a rebuttal. Sounds familiar. The NBC nightly news did a "It's all HAL, BP, RIG's fault, burn them at the stake piece" tonight. As always, be careful where you get your news.

    SWN quarter .. strong numbers, rather uneventful operations update, another quarter of flattening IPs and presumably EURs probably not going to be much of a crowd pleaser however they drilled a number of wells in 5 days or less this past quarter which makes one think Arkansas rock melts like butter. Details in the morning. 

  155. 155
    zman Says:

    HAL rebuttal on the tape, asks some questions, basically says the testing method used by the panel was probably insufficient to get an accurate reading. Also shows the president's panel to have made a false statement about the 1 out of 4 tests being successful. Says that 2 of those tests were preliminary tests, done in February. Importantly, they were not tests of the same mix that actually went into the well. 

  156. 156
    scoop006 Says:

    Z __ If the democrates retain  control of  BOTH houses of congress on Nov.2, would you expect  an immediate market sell off ?
    As always, your insight is most appreciated.

  157. 157
    zman Says:


  158. 158
    zman Says:

    re 156 – Dunno, happily not my realm but from what I read, they are not going to keep the House. 

  159. 159
    bill Says:

    156 yes

  160. 160
    zman Says:

    WLT up $6+, just can't get a pullback

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