Coober Pedy and the “$20 Trillion Opportunity”

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This piece was originally published as part of the Friday File two weeks ago, and we’re re-sharing this excerpt with all of our free readers because the ad is driving so many questions our way. It has not been edited or updated, though to our knowledge neither has the original “interview” ad from mid February.

The latest teaser ad for the Energy Inner Circle newsletter (edited by Dr. Kent Moors) is pitching the next great shale oil area — and it’s in Australia.

The tease tells us that a tiny town called Coober Pedy, which is in an almost uninhabitable part of South Australia, is about to become an immense power center of such influence that it will rival the oil sheikdoms of the Middle East, all because of a $20 trillion find that’s going to make at least a few companies (and you, of course) stinkin’ rich.

Coober Pedy is a mining town, miles from anywhere and unusually dry and hot even for the driest continent on earth, and they’re known for mining opals — it’s also a place where only a couple thousand people live, and much of the revenue comes from tourists who come to see the old opal mines and gawk at the underground houses and churches that have been built to help people survive the desert heat. Other than that, there’s not much reason anyone should have heard of it.

Until recently, apparently — there have been rumors and explorers about the work that Linc Energy and others have done exploring for shale oil in Australia, and particularly of the Arckaringa Basin in this specific area. It’s not too far from other tight oil and gas formations in Australia (200 miles counts as “not too far” in the boonies), but there’s not been enough promise of economic reservoirs of oil to get much investment into the area. Until, perhaps, now.

Linc Energy is the central focus of the ad and of any stories about the Arckaringa Basin, and it’s pretty well known (and revealed in the “interview” teaser ad, this isn’t a secret pick) — they have all the leases in the Arckaringa Basin and have been the ones drilling and exploring there for a few years. And they also released impressive estimates in January that got everyone excited, talking about the potential for 200 billion barrels of oil or more. You can see the chatter that’s been happening over this massive Arckaringa Basin potential and Linc Energy in a Wall Street Journal piece here, and in a CBC piece here. It sounds like most of the experts, and Linc themselves, are talking it down to maybe three or four billion barrels as the more reasonable lowball expectation for possible someday recoverable oil.

So, as you can imagine, Moors says “This is going to be huge” — but it’s going to involve other companies as well.

Linc is going to need lots of funding and help from experienced partners to develop anything. They have bankers advising them now to raise the money, and governments are apparently involved in holding hands and making sure that companies get involved to push the development of this field.

He says in the video that he recommended Linc the same day that the news came out — and that it’s a great long-term play, but it’s already shot up so he has other stocks to suggest.

Interestingly, unlike many newsletter folks who try to look below the billion dollar story (Linc is still small by oil company standards, but has a billion dollar market cap) to find the little unheard of story of some neighboring landholder or unknown partner … Moors pitches two large, international companies that he thinks will be major beneficiaries, he calls them the operators and service providers (“OSPs”). Maybe this is because Arckaringa has no other landowners to speak of (Linc apparently has it all locked up), or because the emerging shale searchers in Australia aren’t particularly related to this headline-gathering story.

We’re told that the operators are those who are going to invest early and help fund the exploratory drilling. The service providers are the experts in this type of huge find and in shale production and pipelines, etc. All of the companies are apparently heavily traded in New York, major stocks and large companies that will play off of this find as it generates profits for years to come.

He says, and I’m paraphrasing because I didn’t have the patience to listen to the video too many times, that “the company I’m hearing consistently as the most likely to benefit most is a huge company, has experience farming in to other major projects, government support, and plenty of financing.”

And Moors suggests that there are huge potential returns for the operator, with 135% or better return within the first year thrown out as a possibility. He also teases a chain of options plays that he thinks you can make on the stock to magnify those gains, but I don’t think anyone’s made an argument that Kent Moors is an expert options trader so we’ll leave that to you to dither with if you’d like.

But what is the stock? Well, frankly, Moors provides no real clues on this one — so I’ll have to guess. If I’m hazarding a guess at the company most likely to get involved with a $200-300 million farm-in deal for the Arckaringa basin and get early access to a potential large shale discovery there, my guess is … Statoil (STO).

They have little net debt, strong government backing (they’re controlled by the government of Norway), plenty of shale and farm-in expertise around the world (including their takeover of Brigham Exploration in the Bakken a couple years ago), and they’re already active in early-stage exploration for shale energy in Australia through their joint venture with PetroFrontier in the Northern Territories.

This is just a guess, there are easily several dozen international oil majors that are big enough to fund an early commitment to this project, and who are desperate for new reserves, I just think Statoil is a likely fit. I do not, however, think that the discovery is likely to cause any $50+ billion oil company to double in share price over the next year — that seems like wide-eyed optimism for a project that may indeed be massive but is years and years (expensive years, too) away from production.

I’m no energy expert, but that seems like a stretch — the biggest beneficiary of lucrative farm-in deals would probably still be Linc Energy, which does trade in the US through a sponsored ADR on the pink sheets (LNCGY is the sponsored 1:10 ADR, LNCYF is the 1:1 pink sheets ticker — both are somewhat tradeable for small investors, there is some volume, but if you buy be careful to price your limit order based on the fair value that’s set on the Australian stock exchange — that ticker is LNC.AX on Yahoo Finance — and do your currency conversion to find a reasonable US$ price). Of course, Linc has also shot up incredibly since they announced the discovery in January — though, in their defense, it’s also a real company beyond this Arckaringa discovery, with real projects that generate revenue now. It wouldn’t be a billion dollar company without the Arckaringa discovery and speculation, but it would be real and be generating revenue.

Who’s the service provider Moors teases? He says that there’s someone who is currently active in Australia, who has set up infrastructure and has projects, and has a close connection to the South Australia provincial government. He also noted that when this teased company announces major service contracts, we might easily see them up 100-400% in the next 18 months. And apparently he thinks there will be a winning option trading strategy to ride these stocks higher too.

And that’s about what we learn in the way of clues — so what’s his big company “service provider” pick for this South Australia field? Well, again the clues are not overwhelming … but if you’re talking South Australia and hydrofracking services I think you almost have to give Halliburton (HAL) the pole position. They’re already very active in oil and gas services in Australia, including the coal bed methane projects in the east of the country and the many projects in the Cooper Basin, which is just a couple hundred miles from Coober Pedy. Halliburton spinoff KBR also has a significant presence in South Australia, though that’s apparently more infrastructure and defense related.

So … I don’t know whether or not Arckaringa will turn out to be the next Bakken (or bigger), but if it even comes close there will be ridiculous billions poured into this sparse corner of the world and it would not be at all surprising if the money flowed most vigorously to the big oil companies — they are, after all, quite expert at turning the tide of cash in their direction over time. Here are a few other pieces on the find if you want to get your head around it:

“Reality check for Linc Oil Find”

Linc Energy Signals Shale-oil Bonanza

Linc Energy Shale Oil Find Met With Share of Caution

I’ll confess that I was a little disappointed not to be facing a veiled teaser for Linc Energy, or even for one of the more obscure little shale explorers in other Australian fields … but if my guesses turn out to be where Kent Moors is steering is subscribers I do like Statoil and can’t complain much about the valuation of Halliburton, and there’s plenty of information out there for you to make your own choices about those picks.

I don’t own any of the stocks I’ve mentioned and, frankly, I’m not champing at the bit to buy them because of this discovery … but that’s at least as much because I’m already overexposed to oil exploration in my portfolio as it is due to any reluctance to speculate on a new discovery, so you can go forth and make your own call on Arckaringa and the various possible picks — no matter which large cap companies get involved, I’ll be shocked if they double in a year just because they get a piece of this field.

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46 Responses to Coober Pedy and the “$20 Trillion Opportunity”


  1. Travis expresses my feelings very well, it may be big but it will take a lot of time and even more money before any of it becomes a reality that will pay off. Great for selling subscriptions but short on any near term returns. I am comfortable with the picks Travis outlined as I have considered, and would be happy to add Statoil or HAL to my portfolio.

    There will be time enough to get on board any companies getting involved with this project and there should be plenty of publicity now that this find is out in the open

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  2. I lived in Australia for several years (some time ago), and visited South Australia, and listened to the legends of Cooper Pedy. I even bought some opals that were allegedly from there! I would suggest that the Majors will be players in this find if it as huge as Moors suggests. That would include companies like Royal Dutch and Chevron. Will the drillers and fracting companies get involved? Who knows. Will China get involved through Sinopec? Your guess is as good as mine.
    Travis – I would suggest we do some sleuthing on the company that Moors teases as having already gone up 25% since his first tease! Who is it? (Likely not Linc Energy, which was already up!). Thanks for pursuing this interesting tease!

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  3. This time i broke my rules and bought before proven, because this land area is so huge
    and the companies who own the land so small and poor with cash, I couldn’t wait for the big boys with their horizontal drilling, so I bought the land. Central Petroleum, ” CPTLF “, Rodinia Oil Corp., ” RDOIF ” and Petro Frontier, ” PFRRF ” and also one big boy Linc Energy, ” LNCGY ”
    Stat Oil and Total have also signed in , and will be ready for the kill !!!
    ” Zinger ” , Bill Kaunzinger

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    • The operators identified by Moors are Sinopec Shanghai (SHI) and Halliburton (Hal). (Please don’t use my name as I am a subscriber to Inner Energy).

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      • I stand corrected, if that’s indeed the pick then there was a major (near $50 billion) oil company that went up 25% in the last month or so — SHI meets that criteria. Of course, it didn’t go up because of any potential involvement with Coober Pedy, it went up because of some more optimism about Chinese infrastructure and energy as far as I can tell, but up is up. The Chinese are certainly throwing money at a lot of foreign energy projects, and like all Chinese oil companies Sinopec Shanghai is state controlled. I don’t know much else about the company.

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      • which Linc Energy stock did you invest on> LNC:ASX or LNCGY ? I am stuck on which one to go with? Also do you think now is a good time to start buying SHI and Hal shares or wait till they formally announced? thanks for your help

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  4. I’ve asked Money Morning’s Dr. Kent Moors if there is rail transportation, or shipping available close by, I knew that there was no pipeline, that was a week ago. No response yet, but I’ll certainly inform Travis if the Dr. does respond. He owes me for how stubborn he was when I had taken a trial subscription to another Letter that was shilling for him. He’s far from my fave for being on-the-ball with these picks of his.

    Be careful guys, unless there is a way to move this oil why would you invest your hard-earned $$ now?

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    • There’s the regular rail line that goes from Adelaide (state capital of South Australia) north to Alice Springs and to Darwin (both in the Northern Territory.) The train is called The Ghan and it’s well worth a trip if you want to go check it out. Do visit Coober Pedy while you’re there; it’s an interesting place.
      In general, the Australians are quite used to dealing with transportation in their great expanse of outback. Look where their iron ore, gold, nickel, uranium, bauxite and other mines are located.
      There’s nothing like passing a three-trailer road train on a dirt road in a choking cloud of red dust – but better than driving for umpteen miles behind such road train!
      Now, it also might be that the existing railway line might not be capable of handling the additional traffic, if all this is as wonderful as it’s being teased.

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    • This is a rail line more to the west of the pedy site . Im guessing in the vicinity of 1-200 miles the run right down to the southern coast fishing center. more research coming.

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    • Check out this US company http://www.gwrr.com/about_us
      “Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (GWI) owns and operates short line and regional freight railroads in the United States, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and Belgium. We provide rail service at 35 ports in North America, Australia and Europe and perform contract coal loading and railcar switching for industrial customers. In addition, we operate the Tarcoola to Darwin rail line which links the Port of Darwin with the Australian interstate rail network in South Australia. Operations currently include 111 railroads organized in 11 regions, with more than 15,000 miles of owned and leased track and approximately 2,500 additional miles under track access arrangements.”

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  5. Moors was the so-called expert who predicted oil would hit $150/bbl last summer. After losing a lot on his recommended call options (which didn’t come within four points of the strike price) my trust in him went to zero. As sagenot suggests, be careful investing in a newsletter writer’s fantasies.

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  6. they are trying to sell this newsletter by talking up A LAZOR AUDIO company thats going to change the way we hear radio, tv, our own hearing. can you check this out Travis?

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  7. I will “sleep on this” over the weekend before doing anything. I cancelled out on Moors long ago.

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    • It is clear to me that Haliburton has unusually stong US military ties …and a find this big justifies a base in Australia as well I bet. My vote is Halliburton is a no brainer …

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  8. It appears STO would be the obvious. RDS apparently has invested the most in the Coober Pedy and is heavily entrenched with large facilities and govt relations. Moors has predicted in writing that WTI will be at or above $105.00 and Brent Crude will be at or above $127.00 on March 31. He is losing much credibility with me, but China needs that energy and will be all over anything in Australia.

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  9. Also, Santos appears to be the closest pipeline to this area with access to major shiping hubs.

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  10. The Drama of a Broadway show with enough spam mail to almost not want to boot up your computer. I could not even count how many scripts and ploys they print for readers to x of there mail . I am always looking for a good investment as we all probably are but in the last few days you would have thought the world was ending by the amount of promo’s for this 20 Trillion guarantee to get your letter news money back but hang on if you invest. The pump and dumpers at least tell you how much they get paid to not advise you but just bring it to your attention. There sometimes could be a confusing subliminal affect until the trance mode sets in like a Jim Kramer BUY BUY BUY BELL and then the next day everybody that watched his show gets a live pump and dump. A good newsletter would be to buy what Jim pumps on the short term get your 5% and get out. I have the time to follow his picks and then play them for a day or two and then get out after the TV PUMP. You can take make a living off his media buy buy buy deals for a couple days and then move on, that is modern day TV swing trading. 7 out of 10 of his recommendations get a short time boost, a play them and dump them. White paper his best plays on the short term and you will see what I mean and run with it. The TV odds are with you that every one that sits there takes his picks and buys and you should do the same and then sells in a couple days is the easiest swing trading on the market. The best part is he brings them back on in 6 to 12 months and you can turn and burn the same picks again. Try it , it is like a promo everyday and than flip it. Rinse and repeat and Jim will make you money. Travis and the thinkolater picks the fish out of the barrel and he lets you know what he keeps, but don’t forget they advertise that Kramer has a charity portfolio and I think that could be another letter with a write off. Travis has the integrity for his subscribers to pick out and rate news letters which is cool and pretty accurate, nobody likes to admit they made the wrong pick, winners are easy to talk about but the loser’s are on the QT. If you want to see the real loser’s use this site with straight talk Travis and try buyins.net for a month and there short squeeze is extremely accurate. If yo put the stockgumshoe.com with Buyins .net that will weed out the rest you get the best of both sides and the price is right. The Gumshoe finds the needle in the haystack and buyins tells you the amount of shorts and how much cash is shorted, blend that with the stockgumshoe and you have $.

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  11. What about a water play on this? Fracking takes huge amounts of water and this place is one of the driest places on earth. Any thoughts on who would have a leg up for supplying water to the operators?

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    • It is my impression that “fracking” need not be exclusivlely hydraulic in nature. One company that might have some business opportunity out of this could possibly be Carbo Ceramics (CRR) : “CARBO Ceramics Inc. manufactures and sells resin-coated ceramic and resin-coated sand proppants primarily used in the hydraulic fracturing of natural gas and oil wells in the United States and internationally. The company offers ceramic proppants, including CARBOHSP and CARBOPROP designed for use in deep gas wells; CARBOLITE used in medium depth oil and gas wells; CARBOECONOPROP; CARBOHYDROPROP used to enhance performance in slickwater fracture treatments; CARBOBOND LITE for oil and natural gas wells that are subject to the risk of proppant flow-back; CARBOBOND RCS, a conductivity proppant; and CARBONRT used to assist operators in determining the locations of fractures in natural gas and oil wells. It also provides fracture simulation software, as well as offers fracture design, engineering, and consulting services to oil and natural gas companies. In addition, the company provides a range of technologies for spill prevention, containment, and countermeasures. It principally sells its products and services to operators of oil and natural gas wells, and oilfield service companies. The company was founded in 1987 and is headquartered in Houston, Texas.” I( do not have any positions at present in CRR.

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    • Be REALLY careful with the water and related plays. POOSF and GSFVF are examples.
      POOSF has gone from a 52 week high of $15.65 and currently sits at $0.15.

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      • @ Tarzan Leather-Chaps – Agree. Learned the hard way on GSFVF – which was another hyper-pied-piper!

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  12. A couple of days ago Dr Kent Moors appeared on CNBC with Louisa Boyesen. One remark caught my attention. He said that crack spreads are improving. Although the refiners have had a good performance there maybe more to come. Check for yourselves.

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  13. Hey Travis,

    I come from a land down under and the story,although headline grabbing,is not quite as big here as it is with Kent ,Bill Pantalon and the other thrashers at money morning.I have bought some though.I know it is probably some time until the resource is proved up but small details like that didn’t stop Africa Oil from turning into a ten bagger last year.And Kenya isn’t Australia if we’re talking safe jurisdictions.Yeah okay,it’s conventional oil in Africa but last time I checked being shale oil hasn’t hurt the Bakken,Eagle Ford,Marcellus and so on and so forth,from motoring forward on the basis of(initially) some educated guessing.Just saying.

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    • Hi Tzvi,
      Answer: yes & no. GWI is the abbreviation that the company uses for itself, while GWR is their NYSE stock symbol.
      I looked at their stock price history and decided that it had risen way too fast for me to be interested just yet. Why didn’t anyone send out a teaser on them 2 years ago!!!

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  14. WEC. owns a large tenement the size of the UK which adjoins the Linc acreage at Arckaringa. The price has gone steadily down despite having more than 1 billion tonnes
    of coal in the price for less than nothing on that tenement [Phillipson] and a Market Cap less than the AUD 80 Million [debt free] it has in the Bank. That also ignores its world leading Clean Coal Technology which several Mining Companies are considering adopting. I reckon Moors is full of B/S . Loves to say he’s going to Windsor Castle almost inferring the Queen will be present, and boasting about all the Countries he is said to advise, whilst he claims to be telling his subscribers things told to him in confidence. I wouldn’t tell him anything in confidence, except he seems to have achieved little which is evident considering he reckons he is on the inside of every major energy deal in the Universe.

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  15. Before the oil gets transported to a market, it needs to get out of the ground. Shale oil requires immense quantities of water to produce it. As the article stated there is no water in this area.

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  16. What fun!!! You are keeping me up past my bed time and I’m An old lady.THE AUSTRALIAN people are the same kind of people that settled this country. I have lived there so I have no doubt that at some point this will happen Mate.

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  17. Oh, and by the way G&W were also part of the HAL-led consortium (see their media release at link) that built the railway before acquiring long-term lease of the pertinent stretch of track. How’d the find out the good info- Tarot cards?

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  18. Have Geneese and Wyoming on my watch list, but I agree with Penny, has risen to a level where investment is only justified once actual production is initiated and that could be MANY years down the road during which time priorities could change. Moors seems to thrive on publicity whether there is solid prospects for investors or not.

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  19. I liked Money matters/Moors presentatition & signed up for the $49. Newletter as a trial.
    I did not understand that meant:
    I was also buying a $199 newsletter.

    Such b.s. for yesterdays news.

    I am cancelling without ever reading anything from them.

    I feel like an idiot for giving them my credit card.

    A friend of mine just moved to. The Baaken.
    Plenty of work there guys!

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    • Hi Travis Here are some under $10 Bakken to keep his eyes open. SSN, USEG, EOX, TPLM and
      AXAS. There is a Santos Pipe Line and the GWR RR. I’m sure LINC had a Seismic 3D Air taken.
      Come on money, LINC needs you ! Water will be needed for fracking which could mean HAL,
      might be the company because they have every thing needed under one roof. I would like to spread my view at this point on my second Bakken pick, are you ready? TAG OIL, “TAoif”
      in New Zealand. 45,000 barrels of oil per day, 534 million barrels proven resources. $3.19 shr.
      New Zealand Oil & Gas, “NZREF”, $0,35 shr. 1.5 million acres, 1.7 billion potential reserves and my favorite “NZRFF”, the only refinery in New Zealand, $1.93 shr. getting all set up for GTL, gas to liquids …. Go for it ……. Zinger

      Like(0)

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