I should probably confess, before I get into today’s teaser sleuthification, that I don’t like organized religion. Disorganized religions are fine, because they don’t get together and try to figure out how to enroll other people (like me) in their belief system, or grow so big that they lose sight of their beliefs entirely, but organized ones turn me off.
So I spent a fair amount of time cringing when I read through the transcript of this latest teaser pitch from Mitchell Clark — I have no idea whether he’s religious himself, but the first couple pages read like a cynical televangelist trying to get you to open your wallet, transparently pandering to those who believe that “America has lost its way” and that “good people” will get their just rewards from God (despite Obama… gotta throw in something about Obama) because of the “master plan” that’s in the Bible.
And yes, he throws a secret stock pick in there, too — more on that in a minute.
Here’s how Clark gets us started:
“Hi, my name is Mitchell Clark, and for the last several months, I’ve led a very unique research project—a search for a solution to America’s economic problems in the Bible.
“And what we uncovered was astonishing…
“It’s a prophecy hidden on page 638 of the King James Bible….”
And, of course, there’s a mysterious image of a piece of parchment that looks like it might be in Hebrew — which is odd, given that the King James Bible is, of course, the English version of that text, as approved and specified by King James (to make sure that the word of God was in line with what he wanted to say) and first published in 1611.
The page number is silly, of course — who knows what edition he’s using, or which printing, pretty much no one cites page numbers for biblical verses. So his secret “prophecy” could be anywhere in the book, but apparently it is a secret that is enriching people in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado, North Dakota and Texas.
[An actual quote from Clark is, “our Creator’s blessings are not confined to northeast Ohio. Small towns throughout America are experiencing similar miraculous results.” No offense to anyone in Youngstown, Cleveland, Akron or Canton, but I think this is the first time I’ve heard anyone imply that “our Creator’s blessings” might be focused specifically on that area]
So yes, I’m being snarky, but apparently the “prophecy” is something along the lines of: “Some of you own land under which shale oil and gas will be found, as God specifically intended, and you will therefore get rich.”
Frankly, it would fit well as a scene in The Book of Mormon (the play, not the sacred text — haven’t read the latter).
I don’t mean to be irreverent here, or at least not any more irreverent than I am on any other day, so I’ll skip over the long section of the ad citing all the people and towns who believe that these new energy discoveries are “divine intervention” and “a gift from God” (similar stuff from the towns impacted by investment in the Haynesville Shale, the Bakken Shale, etc.) Obviously, those are common phrases that some people spit out whenever anything shockingly good happens (God is also very active in the state lottery, I’m told).
We, on the other hand, know that God clearly intended for His oil riches to be discovered most voluminously under land controlled by caliphates, dictatorships and godless communists, and (ha ha on you!) under thousands of feet of ocean, and only after that to be found under the lands of the “true believers” in the United States. Oh, and (ha ha again!), the oil that goes to save the farms and towns of the “true believers” is way harder to extract than the stuff controlled by the folks who don’t so much adhere to the Anglican version of the Word of God.
The point is, Mitchell Clark, once he’s done offending both believers and non-believers with his pandering (as I’ve probably done with my snarkiness), goes on to tease a stock. Perhaps because God wants ownership of for-profit enterprises to be spread among individual investors.
Arg, sorry again!
I know I’ve already made a good number of you angry, so I’ll try to stop. If you want to read the rest of the ad, go right ahead.
Mitchell Clark is pitching a subscription to something he calls America’s Redemption, which I guess must be a newsletter dedicated to the shale oil revolution — it’s not really clear, but the folks at Lombardi Publishing will let you “start to try it” for $5 as a bargain basement entry level price compared to the $295 “normal” price. Oh, except wait a second, he’s charging $5 upfront and then if you don’t cancel after a month he’ll charge you $92.50 as the balance for your first six months (so it’s actually $195/year, I guess, and they’ll then renew you at that rate every year). Clever.
America’s Redemption is not listed on Lombardi’s website that I can find, though I do wonder if it will be going up against that other biblically-titled Lombardi newsletter, the Judgement Day Profit Letter, which is helmed by Clark’s colleague George Leong and “features stocks that we expect to profit as the American Ponzi scheme collapses.”
Anyway, moving on… this is just the last little excerpt before we get to specifics:
“The Anti-Obama Recovery
“The story begins six years ago, in the aftermath of the 2008 market crash…
“Some Americans turned to Obama for help.
“They saw him as their potential savior from economic doom.
“But not everybody did.
“Others looked to the Lord for His guidance, for it has been said that He guides in all matters.
“And since then, I believe He’s led the faithful forward to a whole new era of prosperity—one unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
“It’s like an era of ‘America’s Redemption.'”
‘Nuff said. On to investing. So that’s what I’ll spend the rest of my time looking for — what’s the stock he’s talking about?
“… certain states are seeing unusual rates of mass migration.
“These are places that have experienced what I call the ‘Biblical Wealth Event.’
“And they’re places with increasing employment rates….
“Everyday Americans are rushing to these areas to claim their share of riches.
“But you don’t have to move to these states, or even visit there, if you want to grab your rightful share.”
Well, that’s certainly true — workers are rushing to Williston, ND and Midland, Texas to take good-paying oil company jobs (and that’s throwing those economies out of whack, particularly in more remote areas like North Dakota, where stories of the high pay for pole dancers and Wal-mart checkers and the lack of affordable rent driving high rates of homelessness fill the newspapers). But which area is he talking about?
Oh, wait, brief interlude: Now he actually gives us the citation to the Bible verse — so I have to share that with you:
“I will shoot up to you deposits stored in valuable dungeon-type containers, so that you will know that I Am the Lord your God, who called you by name.”
(Isaiah Chapter 45, verse 3, on page 638 of the King James Bible.)
You can interpret that however you want — here are a bunch of different translations and commentaries on that verse if you’re curious. Clark’s quote is not from the King James translation, from what I can tell, it is a different translation (and it’s a verse that’s sometimes also used by folks talking about the Biblical guidance that will lead to large oil discoveries in Israel). The King James version of this verse mostly talks about how this was God’s deal with Cyrus the Great — Cyrus recognized the one true God, and God guided Cyrus and his armies to treasure. I think. You can dig through that on your own if you like, I won’t pretend to know the “back story” on this one.
OK, back to the stock.
“God Still Hasn’t Given Up on America…
“To tap into America’s blessed wealth, you just need to know where the next oil discovery is. And get in right from the beginning whenever they strike it.
“That brings me to… ‘The Next Bakken Discovery You Haven’t Heard About‘
“In a state you would never expect, not Texas or Oklahoma, the Oil & Gas Journal confirms there’s a massive amount of oil under the surface.
“7 billion recoverable barrels using current drilling techniques.
“The EIA considers it one of the top six shale oil fields in America.
“Next to the Bakken, Eagle Ford, and Permian basins.
“But unlike these more well-known oil fields, this oil play is virtually untapped.
“That’s $700 billion sitting under the ground.”
So where is it? He’s talking about the Niobrara Shale in Colorado, where some big players have done well already, but says that the better-known companies (Noble Energy, Anadarko) aren’t the way to go. More from the pitch:
“Instead you’ll want to look to the smaller explorers.
“Ones with the same potential as the big oil players that were small before the Bakken took off.
“These are the new ‘Millionaire Makers.’
“And I’ve identified one ‘pure play’ on this oil field that could hand you 1,079% gains over the coming six months….
“Now, this isn’t ALL about getting rich.
“I doubt our Lord put the oil there so people can spend extravagantly.
“That’s why he’s blessing individuals who truly need the money.
“People who won’t blow it on expensive gadgets. Americans who save their money for a rainy day. They’re paying off tuition, their mortgages, and enjoying time with friends and family. They’re donating to their churches and charities.”
Well, crud. So I guess, if you were planning on getting rich from this so you can buy that new Camaro you’ve got your eye on, or get matching iPhones for all your grandchildren, well, you’re out of luck. This is only for people who make sensible and rational decisions. Like subscribing to investment newsletters that get their cues from God’s instructions to Cyrus the Great.
More from the ad:
“I’ve found a Colorado-based ‘pure play’ on this oil field.
“It’s hit a 100% success rate on the wells.
“Right now it holds only 19 million barrels proved reserves.
“But new drilling on its holdings could drive that up to over 224 million barrels.
“That’s a 1,079% jump!
“In short, this play has $20.5 billion in potential new oil wealth.
“And early investors can grab a piece of this for themselves.
“The best part…? You can buy into it for just over $10.
“But to be frank, that won’t last for long…
“Months ago, I recommended my readers buy it for $5….
“And while you haven’t missed out on the HUGE gains yet…
“If you want to grab a slice of this oil wealth for yourself, you’ll need to act today.”
OK, so finally we can just look at a stock — one that he says has the same potential as Continental Resources or Kodiak Oil & Gas (Bakken), or Pioneer Resources (Eagle Ford), all of which went up more than 1,000% over some undetermined time period — so who is he teasing to be the big winner from the Niobrara?
One more clue:
“It’s an early pioneer on the emerging shale oil play in its own state.
“It’s rapidly expanding its production and reserves.
“And it holds incredible acreage on this future Bakken.
“In the past three years, it’s ramped up production by 811%.”
So… hoodat? Thinkolator sez we are almost certainly looking at… Synergy Resources (SYRG)
The oil resources in Northern Colorado are cited using lots of different names, depending on what part of the area you’re in and what depth you’re targeting, so don’t be confused to see references to the Niobrara shale or formation, the DJ Basin, the Wattenberg Field or any variation on those. It’s pretty much all about the same land.
And Synergy does have growing production from that area, what they call the “core Wattenberg,” and they’re planning drilling in the “NE Wattenberg extension” nearby, as well as some exploration going on in Southwest Nebraska aimed at the Upper Pennsylvanian layer.
So why is it our match? Well, production going from 452 to 8,120 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) from 2011 to the third quarter 2014 is indeed an increase of 811% (if you round a little bit). So that’s a nice match. And it is “just over $10” (actually almost $12 at the moment) and was around $5 “months ago” (almost two years ago, actually, but within the realm of possibility for Clark’s recommendation period).
And they did report roughly 19 million barrels of proved reserves (19.7 million, actually) in their April update. And they have reported a 100% success rate on their wells. And they are headquartered locally, near the wells in Colorado.
So I suppose I can’t say the Thinkolator is 100% certain on this one — but we’re pretty close. I’ve been sniffing about a bit and didn’t run into any other near-$10 Niobrara/Wattenberg stocks that have doubled during any reasonable time frame (most of them are nowhere near that price), so there are plenty of other Niobrara plays that investors might want to consider, from PDC Energy (PDCE) to Bonanza Creek (BCEI) to Carrizo (CRZO)… or, of course, the larger oil companies in the area like EnCana (ECA), Noble Energy (NBL), or Anadarko (APC), and they may all be better stocks for all I know but none of them that I’ve been able to find are a better match for Clark’s teaser than Synergy Resources. And for what it’s worth, Clark did mention them in a public article back in the Summer of 2013, so he at least liked them at one point.
Of course, whether or not SYRG is going to be a great investment, or will continue the pattern of “blessings” that shale oil producers have received and will in turn pass those on to you, well, that’s a question you’ll have to answer yourself. You can see Syngergy’s latest investor presentation here for a decent overview of their properties and prospects, or their quarterly report for the full details. They have been profitable for a couple years, they have grown production quickly, and they have issued a fair number of new shares along the way, presumably to fund expansion, but nothing that jumps out as shocking for a junior oil producer — they are now approaching a $1 billion market cap, so the bets are in on continued drilling success and increases to the reserves. I don’t know enough to place a bet on this one, myself, but if you’d like to chime in with a comment below, well, I’d be delighted to hear what you think.
P.S. I checked, Synergy Resources is not mentioned in the Bible.