Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Futures Are Still Green; Idle Rambling On EOG's UBS Presentation

It's hard to believe that after that tremendous run-up we had today, futures now are still green, albeit not by much. Dow futures are up 17 and NYMEX oil is up about 14 cents. I expect these to change significantly when the market opens, but if they hold, it will be quite remarkable.

Of course, we will  have first time unemployment claims data tomorrow, but after last week's mockery of the process, it's hard to even pay attention to whatever the government reports. It almost appears as if the market is becoming more and more disconnected to government reports. The market will respond to actions: like it did today when the Fed took no action to taper.

On another note, if you haven't looked at the EOG transcript of the UBS presentation, it's a good one. Pay close attention to the discussion and Q&A on completion technology being used by EOG; it's quite sensational.

When the Bakken boom began (on the North Dakota side of the basin), folks talked about 1 - 3% recovery rates. Based on what I was seeing, and hints provided by some operators, I opined that recovery rates were probably about 5%. I think a recovery rate of 5% was about as high as anyone thought operators could get in the Bakken with current technology in the first two decades of the 21st century. There were hints that some operators were getting 8% (and I think I blogged about that but cannot remember). But now, EOG clearly states they are getting 8% recovery.

This is one of the reasons I've always felt that the concern mineral owners had for "wasteful" flaring was misplaced. For every $30,000 in crude oil operators are bringing up, they are bringing up $30 worth of natural gas (don't take that out of context; due to high NGL's in Bakken oil, the flared gas is worth more but based on what gas processing plants are paying for natural gas at the wellhead I'm probably not too far off). [Disclaimer: I often make simple math errors, but I posted that data about a week ago and no one has corrected me on it.] Even if my figures are way off, the point is that mineral owners are getting thousands of dollars for crude oil vs tens of dollars for natural gas, and yet some mineral owners are concerned about that waste.

But think about this. If your operator is not EOG, and your operator is getting 2% recovery, or 3% recovery, think what your royalties would be if your operator was EOG and was getting 8% recovery.

It's hard for me to argue against the success of many of the other operators in the Bakken, but EOG seems to have really thought this through. They saw the pipeline constraint and were the first to build their own CBR loading facilities. I remember folks saying that rail would only be temporary. EOG now says rail will be permanent.

In today's transcript, an analyst was surprised to hear that EOG didn't see a huge differential between rail and pipeline transportation. Think about this. Put the differential at whatever number you want. Now imagine that there was no rail, only pipeline, and your product was trapped in Mountrail County and couldn't get out because there was not enough pipeline capacity. Whatever differential you placed on rail/pipeline sort of pales in comparison to the alternative. Also note that at the time EOG was building that Stanley CBR terminal, Bakken oil was priced about $60 - $75/bbl. Now, Bakken approaches WTI which approaches Brent which approaches $110/bbl. The point is: sometimes folks focus on one data point a little bit too much. It's the entire operation.

And speaking of the entire operation, EOG saw another chokepoint: sand. They wanted to control their own destiny and they now own their own sand, much of it in Wisconsin. And they take it seriously. They have a 20-year supply of sand, and plan on replenishing their supply to keep a 20-year supply. It was also interesting to hear that different "kinds" of sand are now used in combination to get a better result. I was aware of that up to a point, but to the extent that EOG talked about it caught my attention.

By the way, what does that little data point tell you, that EOG has a 20-year supply of sand? It tells me they plan to be fracking for 20 more years in the Eagle Ford and the Bakken.

And, if that's not enough, EOG also controls all their own fracking.

Oh, on the safety of railroad cars. EOG has very little capital invested in rail tank cars; the company will deal with new safety standards just fine. EOG occasionally has an excess of rail; when they do, they will ship third party crude oil.

Hey, by the way, the nominee to be the new FERC chairman doesn't seem to be very friendly to the industry; that's a bigger concern than several other issues that analysts raised.

Note the downspacing EOG is testing in the Bakken: 160 acres.

Also, note something that I said a long, long time ago: EOG says the farther away the end of the horizontal is from the vertical, the more difficult it is for effective fracking. I would expand on that but I'm getting out of my comfort zone.

That's all from a layperson's perspective, from someone who probably understands about 1% of all that is going on in the Bakken.

I can hardly wait for tomorrow's news stories. Good luck to all.

For the roughnecks out there whose wife or girlfriend is named Diane:

Oh,Diane, Fleetwood Mac

Wow, they were young when they were at the top of the charts. My wife saw them in concert in Los Angeles. That was far away, and a long, long time ago.

NOTE: after I wrote that stuff up above about EOG, I noted this article at Motley Fool: this oil company is printing money.
What's the quickest way to double an investment these days? Well, according to EOG Resources it would be to drill for oil. The company is enjoying a direct after tax rate of return averaging 100% pretty much every single time it puts a drill bit into the ground.
Over the next four years the company sees this high margin oil production delivering a big growth in earnings and free cash flow. Those funds will be used for healthy annual dividend increases as well as an acceleration in its high rate-of-return drilling program. Let's take a closer look at why EOG is just printing money these days.
Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions based on what you read here or what you think you may have read here.

Eight (8) New Permits -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA; Liberty Resources Reports A Nice Well

Active rigs: 180 (steady)

Eight (8) new permits --
  • Operators: Oasis(6), CLR (2)
  • Fields: Alkali Creek (Mountrail), Tyrone (Williams)
  • Comments: Oasis permits are for a 4-well pad in Tyrone oil field, and a 2-well pad in Alkali Creek
Additional comments:
Here are the names of two of the Oasis wells (new permits:
  • Dawson 5494 11-1 2T2
  • Dawson 5494 11-1 3T3
My hunch is that one of these is targeting the 2nd bench of the lower Three Forks; the other is targeting the 3rd bench of the lower Three Forks.  
Wells coming off the confidential list were posted earlier; see sidebar at the right.

Wells coming off the confidential list on Thursday:
  • 24030, 654, Fidelity, Larry 41-7H, Heart River, t3/13; cum 33K 7/13;
  • 24216, 224, Baytex, Leo 5-8-161-97H 1XN, Frazier, t5/13; cum 18K 7/13;
  • 24303, 554, Liberty Resources, Anderson 152-103-21-16-1H, Glass Bluff, t4/13; cum 30K 7/13;
  • 24786, drl, KOG, Smokey 13-7-19-14H3M, Pembroke, no production data,
  • 24808, drl, CLR, Wahpeton 10-16H2, Banks, no production data,
  • 24928, drl, CLR, Tangsrud 11-1H1, Hayland, no production data

All three wells going to DRL status went to DRL status for operational reasons (multi-well pad drilling); this is not due to any backlog in fracking. NDIC says frack teams are ahead of drillers right now (in the most recent report, covering July, 2013).


Even this well has been producing for several months (and thus completed some time ago), the data was not posted until it came off the confidential list.
  • 24030, see below, Fidelity, Larry 41-7H, Heart River:
DateOil RunsMCF Sold

24303, see below, Liberty Resources, Anderson 152-103-21-16-1H, Glass Bluff:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold

Update On The New Airport At Bowman, North Dakota; Far Southwest Corner Of The State

KNXET is reporting:
The new airport is under construction and is four miles east of Bowman.
Dirt work on the $15 million project finished a couple weeks ago, the next step is for surfacing and electrical work.
The new airport is expected to be complete in 2015. 
That's been a big positive in our community. We have a lot of interest in flying. We have had more new students. Six new private pilots in last two years. Who knows maybe new airport is part of that," says Morland.
Kyle Wanner with the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission says there has been no other project like this in North Dakota in decades.

GE Becoming An Oil And Gas Company?

Of course not, but things are certainly changing at GE.

Bloomberg is reporting:
GE's decision to hand control of the rapidly growing oil and gas division to Lorenzo Simonelli is fueling speculation that its youngest top executive is a leading candidate to someday run the company.
Simonelli, 40, will assume control on Oct. 1 of a business that’s seen annual sales climb 54 percent since 2008 and has become a primary focus of GE’s acquisition strategy. He takes over for Dan Heintzelman, who was elevated to vice chairman after running the unit since 2011, GE said today in a statement.
“If Simonelli is able to take the franchise Heintzelman created and take it to the next level, he’s obviously going to be in an excellent position,” Nick Heymann, a William Blair & Co. analyst in New York, said today in a telephone interview. He has a market-perform rating on GE. “The Oil & Gas platform has the telltale signs of being the next chief vehicle of value creation on the industrial side.”
Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt, 57, is putting the oil and gas division at the forefront of his push to increase earnings at GE’s industrial businesses while shrinking its lending arm. It’s grown faster than any other unit since financial markets froze in the aftermath of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s bankruptcy in 2008.
So much for wind and solar. 

EOG CEO Presents At UBS; EOG Completion Technology Is Huge Portion Of This Presentation

A while back I presented the highlights from the EOG/CEO's presentation at Barclay's/CEO-Energy Conference.

Now, we have the transcript from the EOG/CEO's presentation at UBS Global Oil and Gas Conference.

I assume the two presentations, less than a month apart, will look very similar, but I already see some data points in the UBS presentation that are interesting.

Some high points from today's transcript:
  • again three plays: Eagle Ford, the Bakken, and the Permian
  • highlights the new completion technology 
  • they have two plays in the Delaware Basin (which they like better than the Midland Basin): the Leonard Play and the new play, just announced this past February, the Wolfcamp Plan
  • the Leonard with internal rates of return of 100%
  • Wolfcamp looks "high" also
  • EOG wants to continue increasing the dividend
  • EOG wants to get debt ratio down to low 20's; currently about 30%
  • in the 2Q13 earnings call, EOG increased one year production growth targets from 28% to 35%
  • they will meet production target increase without increasing CAPEX
  • testing 160-acre spacing in the Bakken; downspacing with a 100% direct ratio return
  • first movers on CBR; they started the whole Bakken CBR process with their facility at Stanley
  • unloading facilities in St James, LA (takes most of our Bakken oil) and at Cushing, OK; already paid
  • again, in the core Bakken area, EOG has some recent 160-acre wells with anywhere from 2,000 to 2,500 bopd
Much of the rest of the transcript was similar to the Barclay's presentation. So, Q&A:
  • Completion technology: 3x to 4x the amount of sand than we've used befoe
  • much more "even" along the entire horizontal
  • mentioned micro-seismic work
  • "we don't want to frack out at long distance. We want to connect it really close to the well." [MDW talked about that a long, long time ago.]
  • EOG is at 8% recovery in the Bakken; if you frack too far out, you risk leaving too much oil behind
  • Sand: EOG got into sand back in 2008 or 2009 (CEO forgets exactly which year)
  • got into sand for secure supply
  • owning own sand saves about $500,000 per well (and look how much sand EOG uses) (on a six well pad: $3 million savings)
  • EOG uses multiple kinds of sand; combinations work really, really well
  • EOG does not rely on outside pumping services; they do all their own work
  • the Chippewa Falls, WI, sand mine is environmentally very, very sound
  • 20 year-supply of sand; EOG will add more sand to keep a 20-year supply
  • EOG will use new completion techniques throughout the Bakken, not just the core
  • EURs of 940,000 bbls at 160-acre spacing 
  • [Comment: either we're being lowballed or the analyst is off, but the comment was made "one well per section": recommend readers look at this portion of the Q&A for themselves)
  • 12-year inventory in the Bakken: a little hedging in the answer
  • EOG says they have more CBR tank cars than oil, so they will occasionally move 3rd party oil in their tanks
  • EOG spoke at length on Three Forks; again, I think it's being understated

Wow: Fed Keeps Printing; Market Surges

Who wudda thought? Maybe Ben wants to keep his job now that Summers has withdrawn.

But we have learned something.

The Fed has been buying $85 billion worth of bonds each month.

"The market" consensus was that the tapering would result in $75 billion worth of bonds.

So, now we know: going from $85 billion to $75 billion was worth almost 200 points on the Dow and almost $3.00/bbl of NYMEX crude oil.

Nice data points. The Syrian risk premium was neutral at this time; an O'Bama strike was off the table.

TPLM Update -- Mike Filloon

Link at SeekingAlpha:
Triangle had an excellent Q2, as it continued to do a good job of controlling costs.

In September of last year, I had reported what looked to be a turnaround for Triangle. By starting oil service and midstream companies it has developed synergies improving the bottom line. Because of this I made it one of my top 2013 stock picks. Triangle's top line number was $50.39 million, beating by $180,000. The bottom line was much better at $0.19/share versus the Street's $0.15/share. The growth numbers have been excellent.
 This almost seems like "old" news, but it is dated today.

Folks may want to take a look at all the wells TPLM has on DRL status; I don't think I recall so many wells to be on DRL status as a percentage of permits. And the wells that have some production data suggest these are going to be some good wells.
Link at SeekingAlpha:
Triangle had an excellent Q2, as it continued to do a good job of controlling costs.

In September of last year, I had reported what looked to be a turnaround for Triangle. By starting oil service and midstream companies it has developed synergies improving the bottom line. Because of this I made it one of my top 2013 stock picks. Triangle's top line number was $50.39 million, beating by $180,000. The bottom line was much better at $0.19/share versus the Street's $0.15/share. The growth numbers have been excellent.

The Best Years Of Music: 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1968 -- Rolling Stone

The best thing about the article on KOG over at SeekingAlpha today was the embedded graph which included the ranking by year of the "Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time."

I have long maintained that 1969 was the best year for music. I wasn't far off. The year 1969 had more "greatest songs of all time" than any other year, except for three that immediately preceded it (the exception was 1968, which was #5, which barely beat 1964).

Around The Horn -- Very Early Morning Trading; After Fed's Minutes, Market Surges; SRE Trades At New Highs After Struggling Past Few Weeks; HK Struggles; TPLM Still Runs

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions based on what you read here or what you think you may have read here. 

Everything looks very, very good except for Halcon which seems to be struggling. [Later: after the market surged; after the Fed said it would keep printing money, keep buying bonds.]

KOG flat. Nice article at SeekingAlpha today. [Up 1%; hits a new high of $11.36.]

Oasis flat. [Up almost 1%; almost a new high.]

HK struggling. Down another 1% today. Hit a 52-week low yesterday. [Up 0.5%.]

CVX, COP, XOM: all flat. [CVX and COP up over 1%; COP at a new high; XOM up about 0.67%.]

EOG up slightly. [Up to a new high; surges 2%; up over $3.00.]

CHK: down 1%. But it has had quite a run. [New 52-week high; up about 0.67%.]

SD: actually up, surprisingly, with everything else down. [Flat.]

AMZG flat. [Actually red.]

TPLM: also, surprisingly up. After a nice run, it continues to hit new highs; now $9.69 is the new high. [Hit a new high earlier; now pulling back; actually red; profit-taking, I assume.]

UNP up on a slightly down day for the market. Interesting. I would have thought it would have followed the market. [Up 1%; up $1.70.]

I don't follow BNSF (BRK) much any more; BRK follows the market in general.

ENB, EEP: both up slightly.

SRE up slightly. From yesterday: finally, moving in the right direction over the past couple of days. SRE is showing up in a lot of articles on natural gas pipelines across the country. [Up almost 3%.] [[Wow, after the Fed minutes, SRE surges; trades at new high. Sweet.]]

TransCanada flat. [Up about 0.7%.]

CLR: flat. [Up 1.4%; up about $1.40.]

WLL: flat, after a nice run; near its 52-week high. [Up almost 2%; new 52-week high.] From "optionMONSTER:
WLL rose 3.71 percent to $54.78 yesterday. The independent oil and gas company is engaged in exploration, development, and production primarily in the Rocky Mountains, Permian Basin, Michigan, and Gulf Coast regions.

More than 24,000 options traded overall in name yesterday, about 14 times its average amount. Of those, almost 22,000 were calls--a further indication of the session's bullish sentiment.

Another Nice Post Over At "Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch

"Heroes Proved."

Her blog is linked at the sidebar at the right.

The Bakken As Laboratory: Illinois Is Invested In Fracking


October 8, 2013: update on drilling/fracking in Illinois.

Original Post 

ShaleStuff is reporting:
The oil and gas industry is drooling over carbon-rich shale formations in the Land of Lincoln. In the oil and gas industry’s quest to tap resources hidden in shale formations throughout the nation, companies involved in the fracking movement are focusing their attention on the next big hot spot, moving attention away from North Dakota and Texas and looking ahead to the future of the industry. 
That future, at this point, is seen in Illinois, where the state just instituted a set of regulations that opened doors to an industry eager to extract oil and gas from the Land of Lincoln. 
Drilling for oil and gas in Illinois is nothing new, but the technology behind fracking has opened the doors to a new source of oil and gas previously thought to be out of reach. In the 1950s and 1960s, Illinois was a hot spot for U.S. oil production, resulting in the extraction of more than 80 million barrels each year, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources.
I'm being told by a reader:
The company has also completed its first horizontal well in the Illinois Basin. The well was drilled to a lateral length of approximately 1,200 feet and was fracture stimulated with nine stages using our "Super Frac" completion design. The well produced at a peak 24-hour sales rate of 367 gross BOPD and a peak 30-day sales rate of 222 gross BOPD.
The company plans to drill one additional horizontal well in the Illinois Basin during 2013 as well as three additional vertical step-out wells in the same region as the horizontal wells to further delineate its acreage position.
"The company" is Rex Energy. The information is available in the company's press release dated August 6, 2013.

I like to think that fracking technology being used in Illinois was "developed" in the Bakken. Be that as it may, here's another state that is invested (literally and figuratively) in fracking.

By the way, Mike Filloon featured Rex Energy just a few weeks ago, September 4, 2013.

Oil Patch Airports Lagging On Takeaway Capacity

The Bismarck Tribune is reporting that North Dakota oil patch will be asking the FAA to consider the North Dakota airport projects as a high priority for their discretionary funding.

Some data points:
  • “This is the first year they (Dickinson and Williston) have had jet service and they were not expected to have it for quite a while,” said Kyle Wanner, airport planner for the aeronautics commission. “We haven’t built to handle the need we’re all of a sudden seeing.”
  • Delta, United and Great Lakes all fly out of the Williston airport, with Delta and United starting last November. Both those airlines have three flights each with talks of adding a fourth come the holiday season, ...
  • Steven Kjergaard, airport manager of Williston’s Sloulin Field International Airport, was the first to suggest the use of the modular buildings. The building in Williston is 24 feet by 60 feet and holds 95 people. With the previous space in the terminal, the airport can now seat 120 people.
  • Wanner said the airlines also have added flight times, destinations and competition. In Bismarck, Northland Travel Agency’s Cheryl Fenster said travelers may still pay more than $1,000 for a short term business trip. However, those that book in advance to fly out and return after a Saturday can get flights to Denver as low as $200 when they used to pay $750 to $900.
  • For August 2013, airline boardings were 18,896 people in Bismarck, 4,246 in Dickinson and 8,640 in Williston, according to aeronautics commission numbers.

War On Coal


February 21, 2014: Bloomberg is reporting another coal plant in the heart of coal country is closing. The country is converting to natural gas. This is for the archives. Some day folks are going to be wondering why their electric bills are so high. Come back to this article for an explanation. For the archives.
For evidence, look to the E.D. Edwards power plant, built in 1960 close to the coal mines south of Peoria. While it pumped out electricity for once-booming steel mills and distilleries, the plant cruised along and avoided spending the millions of dollars to install a scrubber on its smokestack.
And so Edwards, confronting a need to meet state and federal rules to clean up and mounting competition from cheaper natural gas, was part of an unusual transaction last year. Owner Ameren Corp. paid Dynegy Inc. to take Edwards and four other Illinois coal plants off its hands, a transaction that perplexed some analysts.
“This was an exercise in kicking the can down the road,” said David Johnson, an analyst at ACM Partners, a financial advisory firm that reviewed the sale for environmentalists trying to scuttle it. “To throw money at someone to take something off your hands is a bit atypical.”
Ameren’s move is among a series of closures, bankruptcies or fire sales by companies desperate to get out of investments in aging U.S. coal plants. Owners are reacting to abundant electricity from natural gas and wind, flat or declining demand and a slew of new environmental rules meant to clean up the country’s top source of pollution. Also in the mix: efforts by environmentalists targeting individual coal facilities.
Original Post
This story is now tracked here

Bloomberg is reporting a very interesting and instructive story in Mississippi. It appears almost everyone will lose under O'Bama's war on coal:
Coal’s future is being built in rural Mississippi, and so far this is what it looks like: a $1 billion cost overrun, a stew of legal battles, a revolt by ratepayers and a credit downgrade for the local utility.
With all those challenges, Southern Co.’s $4.7 billion project in Kemper County may still be coal’s best hope to survive President Barack Obama’s limits on greenhouse-gas emissions. 
It’s a transformative project,” said John Thompson, a director of the Clean Air Task Force, a Boston-based environmental group. “It will be the largest and cleanest coal plant in the world, but I don’t think it will hold that title for long.” 
For the archives. I don't follow coal very closely. But something tells me this is not going to end well for someone (or someones).

Halcon Interview In Reuters

Link here.
Floyd Wilson made a $303 million Texas land deal last week that buys time and provides cash for the chief executive of Halcón Resources Corp (HK.N) to do what he does best: spruce up an oil company and sell it off to the highest bidder.
Wilson sold less-desirable land in northern Texas, but retained lucrative land in eastern Texas. The move immediately lowered average operating costs and gave a $13 million after-tax boost to the $3 million cash reserves Halcón reported at the end of the second quarter. 
The deal also enables Wilson and the company's 450 employees to focus on assets in the El Halcón and Woodbine shales in Texas, as well as in the Bakken in North Dakota and the Utica field in Ohio. 
"We will be successful," Wilson said in an interview on Thursday over a glass of Diet Coke. "I've been doing this a long time. Nothing keeps me up at night." 
Wall Street is anxiously waiting to see if Wilson can replicate the feat he pulled off in 2011 when he sold Petrohawk Energy to BHP Billiton Plc (BHP.AX) for $12.1 billion, a 65 percent premium over the share price before the sale was announced. 
Although his new company is only two years old, Wilson is already testing the patience, and wallets, of his investors. Halcón's stock price is down more than 30 percent this year following multiple stock offerings and concerns about a $2.71 billion debt load, which exceeds the company's market value.
More at the link. 

My hunch: he won't hold acreage in the Utica if the going gets tough.

Regular readers will remember this other link regarding Halcon from yesterday: Halcon trading at 52-week lows

Wednesday Morning Links, Views, And News

It looks like another great day for investors.

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions based on what you read here or what you think you may have read here.

Lead story, WSJ: Walgreen will shift all 160,000 employees to on-share health exchanges. In a Reuters interview Halcon says it has no intentions of acquiring more debt or selling more shares. Futures are up; oil is up slightly. RBN Energy has another great analysis of takeaway capacity for natural gas in the northeast. Based on stories coming out of the Washington, D. C., Navy Yard shooting, even paranoid schizophrenics can get "Secret" clearances from the US government; another case in which one federal law enforcement agency (the FBI, in this case) alerts another federal law enforcement agency (the US Navy, in this case) about a paranoid schizophrenic; nothing is done; and 13 people are killed. 

So, let's get started.

It will be interesting to see if this ends up being the "big story" of the week.

Active rigs: 180

RBN Energy: takeaway capacity in the northeast; reversal of the REX

CarpeDiem: update on Permian Basin, the new economic hot spot in the US -- Midland and Odessa. 

WSJ Links

Walter Mossberg devotes his column to Apple's new TouchID on the new iPhone 5S. Meanwhile, in another article the iPhone 5C is heralded as "a solid premium phone that's good for first-timers or users looking for a thrifty upgrade." The target for the 5C in the United States: tweens.

Good news for us sitting in Starbucks: coffee prices are at their lowest in four years as supplies swell.  My hunch: Starbucks won't be lowering their prices any time soon. That's fine with me. Their price is fair.

This is interesting: ATT may be lining its war chest.
The telecom giant is looking to sell its wireless towers, according to a report Tuesday by Bloomberg News. Such a move has been largely expected since March, when AT&T indicated its willingness to sell the towers to assure investors it had the cash to pay its dividend and buy back stock.
Now, AT&T might have another use for extra cash. 
This should be very, very interesting, seeing what ATT does with all that cash.

Microsoft is going to hand out more cash (increase its dividend) and buy back more shares. Bill Gates, back on top of the Forbes 400, will like that move -- especially the increase in dividend.

Industry experts say the cost of lithium-ion batteries used in electric and hybrid cars are likely to be about half of today's prices in seven years. I think we've heard that story before.

Huge story in the front section: companies are increasingly choosing to generate their own power, rather than buying it from a utility, spurred by falling prices for solar panels and natural gas, and fears of outages.

Again, ObamaCare will be a boon for investors as corporations shift costs. And for consumers, this: medical prices are rising at their slowest pace in a half century, a relief to government and businesses but signaling that consumers are being left with a larger share of the bill.

Los Angeles Times

Yup, the top story: paranoid schizophrenic keeps "Secret" clearance; has guns on gun-free installation. Someone said that even active duty military weren't allowed to carry weapons in this gun-free zone (except for security: when seconds matter, the police are only minutes away).

This was in both the WSJ and the LATimes: Penthouse parent company files for bankruptcy.

The gap between the "haves" and the "have-nots" widened significantly under this administration. The nation's poverty rate held at a near-generation-high of 15% last year.

New York Times
Top story, front page, with photo: Alpha Manzueta has two jobs but has lived in a homeless shelter for three years, and she is part of a growing class of New Yorkers who work but can’t find affordable housing.

Secret US court calls collection of phone data legal.

Frustrated democrats increasingly defying Obama.

Front page looks like an editorial page.

 Boston Globe

Wiscasset, Maine, now in "economic depression," with closure of the Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. The town is "full of regret."

According to two separate reports, more than 20,000 employees are working in renewable energy in the state and Boston is the most energy-efficient US city. 

Walgreen Will Shift Employees To On-Line Exchanges Under ObamaCare

The Wall Street Journal is reporting:
Walgreen Co is set to become one of the largest employers yet to make sweeping changes to company-backed health programs. On Wednesday, the drugstore giant is expected to disclose a plan to provide payments to eligible employees for the subsidized purchase of insurance starting in 2014. The plan will affect roughly 160,000 employees, and will require them to shop for coverage on a private health-insurance marketplace. Aside from rising health-care costs, the company cited compliance-related expenses associated with the new law as a reason for the switch.
Under Walgreen's new arrangement, to take effect in 2014, the firm will pay a fixed amount for employees to select coverage options in a private insurance exchange run by Aon Hewitt, a consulting unit of Aon PLC. The exchange will offer up to 25 different plans in some states.
The options include HMO-style coverage with no deductibles and lower out-of-pocket costs than some plans. Also available are bare-bones plans with higher deductibles and leaner coverage. Workers could have premiums costing as little as $5 a month, Walgreen says, to appeal to the 36% of its employees who are single and under 30 years old.
It isn't clear how much money the move might ultimately save Walgreen or whether its workers will face higher costs. Mark Englizian, Walgreen's vice president of compensation and benefits, said the submitted bids for monthly premiums for the private exchanges were roughly equal to its current 2013 rates—meaning some savings could come from the fact the bids didn't factor in year-over-year increases.
Mr. Englizian said another reason behind the private-exchange decision was offering employees more health insurance options.
I knew there would be a work-around. Do you remember the McDonald's franchisees going to Washington, DC, yesterday to "plead" for relief from ObamaCare? They won't get relief, and McDonald's will do the same thing Walgreen has done.

It's nice to see that this decision will give employees an opportunity to explore more health insurance options. 

Again, for investors, ObamaCare will work out very nicely. I think that's one of the reasons Republicans are divided on whether to defund ObamaCare. Everyone knows corporations have seen escalating health care costs; ObamaCare will do two things for them:
  • a) allow them to budget 
  • b) shift costs
Note: there are insurance policies out there with premiums as little as $5 / month. Can't beat that.