One of the companies that I ran across while skimming a lot of material about South American oil and gas production, Argentine unconventional shale oil and gas, and the “Vaca Muerta” region is a little firm called Americas Petrogas (BOE.V in Canada, APEOF on the pink sheets). It’s not a NY listed firm, so I didn’t spend much time on it while trying to match the clues for Kent Moors’ Energy Inner Circle teaser yesterday — but after spending some time on it last night I decided to buy a small chunk of this one.
I can’t say I’ve thoroughly investigated the company yet, but I did take a small position in this one so it will be added to my personal portfolio. This is a very small speculative position, less than 1% of my portfolio, and it’s definitely not a recommendation that you buy shares, I don’t know the company well enough yet to send anyone else their way.
Why did I buy? Because of a confluence of events that I think could have the stock getting substantial new attention, and because they have just recently retained Jefferies to help them shop their assets and find a way to realize value for their underappreciated assets.
Now, their assets are in Argentina — so that’s clearly a deterrent to many, and should be. But they’re also in an area of Argentina where the focus on expanding production is strong, and the government is motivated to get oil and gas production up in the Vaca Muerta region — motivated enough that they’ve loosened some of the restrictive foreign exchange and export laws in an effort to bring more explorers (and their capital) into the country. Now, that doesn’t mean these changes are permanent, or that the regulatory framework after these changes is delightful — but oil companies have certainly gotten used to risky regimes over the years, and it’s not deterring them from investing in the vast potential of the Vaca Muerta shale field.
So what’s the story with Americas Petrogas? Well, it has proven up the potential of their fields to some degree and published some resource estimates from a third party following five successful test wells — and the numbers are pretty impressive, even if we remind ourselves that these are not proven reserves, we don’t really know the production cost of those potential barrels of ...