I like to mix things up a bit, cover different newsletter “gurus” and their teaser picks and try to put a good variety of folks under the Gumshoe microscope — but Byron King’s latest ad has caused so many questions to come pouring through the floodgates here at Gumshoe HQ that I feel like I have to cover it for you today … even though I wrote about some different Byron King teaser picks for the Irregulars in the last Friday File.
So what’s the latest pick? The ad I’m seeing over and over now is for a huge Israeli oil find — and no, it’s not Zion Oil and Gas (ZN), which is perhaps the most well-known little Israeli oil company (in part because of the story they pitch, about using the Bible to direct their search — they haven’t found oil), or the companies behind Israel’s now-well-known giant offshore gas field in the Mediterranean (that’s mostly Noble and Delek, who share the Leviathan field). So who is it?
Here’s what the intro to the ad says:
“In this exclusive presentation, Byron King releases exclusive information regarding a mammoth $27 trillion oil discovery has been found in a huge Israeli ‘Oil Vault’. It could be the second largest ‘Oil Vault’ in the world…
“And ONE tiny, little-known Canadian company recently won the rights to a sizeable piece of Israel’s massive oil find….
“The Beginning of the End for Money-Grubbing OPEC…
“Israel discovers what could be the 2ND LARGEST ‘Oil Basin’ in the world… officially giving OPEC the ‘middle finger.'”
“According to the World Energy Council, Israel’s massive oil discovery could ultimately yield as many as 250 billion barrels of oil … worth over $27 trillion.”
There’s even a surprising quote from the Wall Street Journal (surprising, at least, for those of us who are accustomed to thinking of Israel as among the least-blessed countries in terms of natural resources):
“… this could turn Israel into one of the world’s leading oil producers.”
Man, if we think the fight over borders and security between Israel and its neighbors is bad now … just wait and see how bad it gets if it turns out the land is actually worth something.
He quotes Dr. Vinegar, who used to be at Royal Dutch Shell and is now with Israel Energy Initiatives, as saying that this might give Israel oil reserves that are second only to Saudi Arabia — and far larger than the remaining reserves in the Saudi Ghawar field.
We’re told that the oil was unreachable until fracking made this oil discovery, which is “under Israel’s sacred ground,” accessible at a reasonable cost.
And yes, as usual, there’s a “tiny Canadian company” in the profit crosshairs over this, according to Mr. King:
“I was ecstatic when I uncovered ONE tiny, little-known Canadian company that recently won the rights to a sizeable piece of Israel’s MASSIVE oil find.”
It’s a company that has a market cap of under $75 million (which, since the ad has been running for a couple days, has probably changed — it doesn’t take much attention to spike a tiny stock), with a stock price under 85 cents per share. And that has a $2.76 billion oil find.
Notice that $2.76 billion? Yes, that’s much, much smaller than $27 trillion … though it still sounds quite impressive compared to a $75 million market cap.
There have been two major oil and gas stories from Israel in the last couple years — the first was the discovery of the Leviathan field, found and being exploited by Noble Energy and Delek, which itself was just the most recent iteration of several discoveries in the eastern Mediterranean, where commercial gas production has been underway for six or seven years. The next gas field coming online is the Tamar field, and it’s expected that production from the Leviathan field and other potentially larger finds in the Levant basin, most of which is in Israeli waters, will proceed apace.
But that’s mostly natural gas — which is obviously important, and could bring Israel some energy security and even turn them into an energy exporter in fairly short order … but it’s not as sexy or profitable as a big oil discovery would be, given the relative pricing of those two commodities.
So the second attention-getting story was that Israel can possibly become a major oil shale player — which is where the story of the $27 trillion and the 250 billion barrels of oil comes from, the stories that really headline this ad.
This is not shale oil that’s extracted by fracking, as we find in the Bakken — flipping those words makes a big difference. This is oil shale, oil that is not trapped by rock layers but that is actually embedded in the rock (that’s probably not exactly accurate, this is just the best way I can describe it). It’s an important distinction — oil shale is found around the world, including huge potential reserves in Colorado, Russia and elsewhere, and the latest oil sh