Saturday, April 30, 2016
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Mr. Cain Thaler

Stock advice in actual English.

Oops! Shale Industry Starts Missing Interest Payments

Monopoly-Banker-with-Empty-Pockets-900x900

In other news, overleveraged oil companies are now facing the days of reckoning, with $2.1 Billion in interest payments coming due this quarter. And already, the missed payments have begun.

The U.S. shale industry must come up with $1.2 billion in interest payments by the end of March as $30-a-barrel oil makes it harder for companies to scrape up the cash needed to stay current on their debts.

Almost half of the interest is owed by companies with junk-rated credit, according to data compiled by Bloomberg on 61 companies in the Bloomberg Intelligence index of North American independent oil and gas producers. Energy XXI Ltd. said in a filing Tuesday that it missed an $8.8 million interest payment. The following day, SandRidge Energy Inc. announced that it didn’t make a $21.7 million interest payment.

“You’ve seen two of these happen in two days, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more in the next month as these payments come due,” said Jason Wangler, an energy analyst at Wunderlich Securities Inc. in Houston.

Grab your popcorn bags.

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BAS Has A Terrible End To 2015, But Clinches A Financing Agreement

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As predicted, 2015 ended in as bad a manner as imaginable for the oil industry. Patterson had been calling for this since September or October, warning investors ahead of time that the entire oil patch was going to “take a little break.” 2015 numbers are abhorrent.

So what’s next? Well, we can expect a mild reprieve to occur when first quarter 2016 numbers come in. But competition is still bloody and someone isn’t making it out of this alive.

On that note, BAS earnings contained a little glimmer of hope. Yesterday, apparently, BAS was given a life line of $165 million in term financing. They are going to use this to escape the atrocities awaiting anyone stuck in revolving credit facilities with asset value provisions attached to them.

Term Loan Financing

On February 17, 2016, Basic entered into a Term Loan Credit Agreement with a syndicate of lenders and U.S. Bank National Association, as administrative agent for the lenders. This agreement provides for borrowings of an aggregate principal amount of $165.0 million on the closing date, and delayed draw term loan borrowings in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $15.0 million. The obligations under the Term Loan Agreement will be secured by substantially all assets of Basic. Basic expects to borrow the initial borrowings of $165.0 million under the Term Loan Credit Agreement on February 26, 2016, subject to the satisfaction of closing conditions.

The term loan will bear interest at 13.5%. In addition, Basic will be responsible for the applicable lenders’ fees, including a closing payment equal to 7.0% of the aggregate principal amount of the commitments.

In conjunction with this financing, Basic intends to amend its existing revolving credit agreement, reducing the aggregate commitment from $250.0 million to $100.0 million.

Pro forma liquidity as of March 31, 2016, including this term loan would be approximately $220.3 million, including $23.1 million of availability under Basic’s amended $100 million revolving credit facility.

Unfortunately, BAS also burned $10 million in the fourth quarter. And I’m guessing this time Patterson wasn’t making an eccentric corporate buyout.

Your move, other companies. Let’s see who dies first.

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Time For Twitter To Die

TwitterSucksBalls

TwitterSucksBalls
Picture casually borrowed from The Verge.com

I’ve been especially preoccupied for the past couple of months, not least because I want to be. I do not enjoy watching my account fling itself about in 5% interval sessions every day. So I’ve worked to keep my head out of the market’s daily trading; if I’m not actively watching then I cannot do something stupid.

I have also made the conscientious decision to get off of Twitter.

Twitter’s service is the epitome of pointless preoccupations. It is jam-packed with losers – the less informed on any subject the better – the kind of place that only journalists could call home. Twitter is a desolate wasteland of sound bytes. A proverbial dessert filled the brim with bumper sticker slogans, and no better.

The service rose to prominence on its remarkable ability to act as a staging ground for foreign opposition movements. Twitter was almost as personally responsible for the Arab Spring on the people setting themselves on fire.

So naturally that aspect of the site has been put under wraps. In order to even operate under these foreign despots, Twitter has been reduced to making agreements to prevent users from creating those types of flash movements. Strike one: its most relevant purpose of spurring democracy in the undemocratic corners of the world is gone.

So what’s left? Celebrities and vicious American politics mostly. Twitter is a great place to watch a man lose his job because he holds traditional views on marriage, or to watch the feminist activist who crushed him be forced into hiding for the rest of her life as a product of retaliation.

So not a whole lot worth seeing. The worst humanity has to offer actually. Strike two.

As far as a news source, Twitter excels. I’ve gotten breaking news from it at speeds that cripple traditional outlets, making even the Cable Networks look like homeless people. But the cost of weeding through all of that bullshit is just not appealing anymore. It’s not like first access to news is all that useful of a strategy for making money anyway.

Big returns are had by correctly bucking the herd over long term. Fifteen minutes of advanced notice in developing announcements is just not a good edge. Hell, half the time those breaking segments are wrong or incomplete anyway.

And that’s basically strike three. What’s good about Twitter is overwhelmed by the feminazis. I realized how easy it was to get stuck in the sticky politics of Twitter and how hard it was to navigate the platform successfully. And every day Twitter admins make it known that there won’t be much left worth navigating for.

As far as Twitter’s actual user base is concerned: is almost impossible to tell how many real human beings actually use the service. Bots are everywhere doing all sorts of algorithm nonsense. From the angle of the business (and all ad based New Tech business ventures in general) let me ask you something:

Have you ever intentionally clicked on a web ad?

Who are these people buying products from web advertisement? Who says “hey that car that just interrupted what I was doing looks awesome, I think I’ll spend $20,000”? There has to be some serious limitations to this approach as a viable sales generator for companies.

I mean, maybe I’m wrong here? Maybe some of you just love having your day interrupted to put your credit card number on unknown internet websites…?

But if you were a company with a $10K… $100K, …$1M advertising budget, why would you go to a service like Twitter? Especially if your own service wasn’t sales based? If you are selling widgets and some guy says “hey I found your widget on Twitter”, well that I guess is all good and well.

But what about if you’re using Twitter to promote your product which is also advertising based? How do you know the “people” linking to your website are even real?

And if you’re a company selling real products and buying ad space on any website, how do you know their traffic is real either?

Wrapping this post up, I haven’t regularly used Twitter in almost a month and a half, limiting myself to only occasional sessions, and I feel great. It’s a pointless time vacuum and being free from it my productivity in other areas have grown by leaps and bounds. Good riddance.

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Nibbled On More BAS

Go To HELL

I added another percent or two to BAS, because at $2.00 any recovery will yield 1,000% style returns and at this junction a few percent doesn’t greatly affect my risk profile. The over half of my account that’s in cash is going to sit tight until we get more clarity.

The rally in oil last week was great, but I have bad news. This run on oil companies isn’t done yet.

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As an aside, this is interesting

Hi-Crush Partners LP and Liberty Oilfield Services Partner to Increase Completion Efficiencies in Colorado`s DJ Basin

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The Energy Services Are Now Picking Their Core…And The Losers

oil

Here’s a fun article. I expected this sometime last year, as it shows the largest oil sector firms understand what must be done.

In order to regain stability of the oil market, production needs to be brought in line with consumption. That is not rocket science. What is considerably more difficult is how that process is permitted to play out.

It’s the overpopulated island problem. Two men are stranded on an island with just enough food for one to survive. How many men survive?

No men survive. They both eat just enough food to ensure they both die, fighting each other the whole way. That’s just instincts.

Baker Hughes and Schlumberger are two of the biggest players in the services space. And they’re old and well connected and staffed by pretty smart people. I’m comforted that someone is finally forcing the weakest hands to wrap up their deaths, as in the long term this is going to minimize the damage to the US energy sector.

Hopefully the more stable services firms can come together, pick the US supply that needs to be idled, and shut it down. Waiting for these zombie oil companies to keel over themselves is growing tiresome.

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Japan Reactor Restarts Continue

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I’ve held a growing position in CCJ since the Fukushima reactor melted down and outlook on nuclear power soured. It has done poorly, but I remain wedded to it. Within the next few years we are going to see pricing for uranium recover and the suppliers are going to do very well indeed.

The Japanese, continue their “patient” process of reactor restarts with courts finally clearing two more this month for reactivation. And of course, by “patient”, I mean “the Japanese are the slowest most irritatingly conservative people on the God damn planet”. But we are finally getting there nonetheless.

A Japanese court on Thursday ruled that two nuclear reactors could be restarted after the operator said in an appeal that they were safe. The Fukui District Court in western Japan lifted an April injunction that was filed by a group of residents who said that an earthquake exceeding the reactors’ quake resistance could cause a disaster similar to the Fukushima crisis set off by a March 2011 quake and tsunami. The order paves the way for a resumption of the Takahama No. 3 and No. 4 reactors, operated by the Kansai Electric Power Company.

The declaration of nuclear power’s death was more than premature. Nuclear power is not dying at all. At this phase, it looks like U308 pricing has set a bottom and the real price for uranium (actually recorded by non-distressed companies like CCJ) has remained higher than the quotes being pushed around on the internet.

For the moment the collapse of hydrocarbon pricing is actually taking the most immediate pressure point off the table for keeping nuclear around, but there are still plenty of reasons why the power source isn’t going anywhere.

The most basic of these reasons is just the broad need of power we have. The planet is advancing; the rest of the world is no longer content to let the West live in the lap of luxury, free from all hunger and cold to work on the most pressing problems of micro-aggressions, while they dig in the mud.

The population of Earth is heavily concentrated in the East. India and China alone make up somewhere around 37% of Earth’s population. As they progress into the late stages of a technological revolution, their demand for power is going to soar. Do you really believe the Chinese care where that power comes from?

China, India, the lot of them, are going to build out EVERY power source available. Coal, nuclear, oil, hydroelectric, wind, solar …if it can turn on a light bulb, it’s getting done. They aren’t going to restrict themselves because some uppity American twat really loves polar bears and aspires to maybe go see some one day.

Now some people are making the case that the recent UN agreement is actually paving the way for more nuclear. I’m not going to buy into that. I’d actually make the case that the UN climate agreement is 99% talk and hype and that there really isn’t such a thing as international law anyway, so only a handful of suckers are going to follow through with what’s written on that paper. The climate agreement’s primary purpose is to funnel billions of hard earned American dollars overseas to bank accounts of the well connected.

But the climate deal does highlight an interesting point. Countries have made pledges to halt emissions growth but those pledges are not completely imaginary. They do seem to be based on emissions expectations for the next few years. And those expectations have a lot of nuclear power built into them.

China is already in the process of doubling their nuclear fleet. Their goal is to quadruple that this decade.

On the Western front, faux-concerned rich people continue to insist that free power come from nowhere especially, which is ironic seeing the West is where Kelvin, Hess, Maxwell, and Gibbs were all born. But if the power flow is actually disrupted I would imagine the pitchfork (or more aptly AR-15) carrying mobs will snap these lunatics out of it. So if we are actually going to attempt to hit these emissions numbers, then there aren’t that many ways to do it.

There is a report floating around that says the US could be almost 100% renewables powered. Of course nobody actually read the report, because if they had you’d realize the extent of madness needed to get there. The point of that report was to discredit the “base load” argument, but the content of the report does a better job of supporting it. In order to completely phase out the traditional power sources, you would need to vastly overbuild the wind and solar sources. It would be extremely wasteful. Otherwise, the variance of power generation would cause problems in the grid.

So my guess is that, for instance, Germany’s insistence they’ll be completely nuclear free (and coal free, and natural gas free, and thermodynamics free) by the early 2020’s in complete crap. Actually, my guess is Merkel’s party gets thrown from power (for unrelated reasons) and reneging on that particular promise will be one of the first orders of business for whoever triumphantly stands over her.

In the US, natural gas generation growth and the sudden collapse of commodities is taking some nuclear power out of commission. I’m not sure if anything is going to reduce this trend, since the GOP doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and they don’t give two fucks about gimmicky fad concepts like “clean energy”.

But big picture, I think US and European reactors will experience only marginal decommissioning (from market pressure and equipment aging). I’m not betting those reactors get replaced just yet, but on the Eastern front, you’re going to see every reactor the West lets idle be replaced by 2 or 3.

These new models have even better safety records than the old 70’s and 80’s models running in the West – which are already basically mortality free – and my guess is seeing them operate will pave the way for a fleet upgrade here at home.

The goal of most countries should be to have a diverse mix of energy sources. In the US, entrenched coal generation has been challenged very effectively. But coal isn’t going away, it’s just going to drop to its even share of the load. Once other sources claim enough market share, they’ll hike prices until equilibrium takes incentives for further conversion off the table. Unfortunately for coal producers, that isn’t a good thing right now. But following enough bankruptcies, there will be room to edge back into the coal industry.

Globally I expect that to be a consistent theme. East countries need more nuclear power to get there (but they need more of everything anyway). South America has very little nuclear capacity and I wouldn’t be surprised if some build out occurs there as well. Europe and North America will slide as they let aging reactors be decommissioned and can’t work up the effort to replace them. The Middle East will continue to push for nuclear because it’s a nice fix to their geographical location, because competition between countries will pick up as one or two implement the source (and because each time they do, America freaks out and showers them with billions at the bargaining table). Africa just needs every source it can possibly get.

Global markets are still experiencing weakness, and demand is soft. But once we work through this patch, it’s back on. Energy is a great place to be for the next 10 years, if you can look past the pain right now. And uranium specifically is a good bet.

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