1,400% Gains from Iraqi Oil, Part Two

by Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe | July 27, 2009 11:22 am

Late last week I wrote about a new teaser from the Phase 1 newsletter at Stansberry & Associates — as far as these things go it’s actually a relatively low-hype, fact-based teaser ad, since there’s a pretty big fundamental argument in favor of anyone who can profit from Iraq’s oil reserves (as well as lots and lots and lots of risks, of course).

So we sniffed out the oil services half of that teaser, which I determined must be a company with a big binary risk — either it gets its joint venture agreement with the Iraqi Drilling Company, or it doesn’t … if it does, the stock should go up smartly; if it doesn’t, no one’s likely to be excited about these shares at all. You can read that writeup here, it also includes some of the broader Iraq big picture stuff[1].

But there was a second company teased as well — not a service company, but an actual oil company that’s already on the ground in Iraq. There were several folks throwing out the same answer in the comments last week, and I expect they’re probably right (and it’s a company I’ve written about before), but let’s go through the clues to make sure …

“$8 Company Strikes Largest Oil Field In Northern Iraq

“Many oil companies are trying to get into Iraq today, but only a few actually had the guts to set up shop there in 2003 prior to the U.S. invasion.

“And one of these companies, which arrived that year, is an independent oil explorer that is now sitting on the largest oil find to date in the Kurdish region of Iraq. Today, the company still trades at less than $10 a share.

“According to official estimates this field holds 2.3 billion to 4.2 billion barrels of oil.

“In an effort to fast-track development, this company is even merging with a private oil company to start production within the next five months.”

Sounds impressive, no? They also make an argument that the company is dirt cheap — based, I assume on their price relative to their reserves.

“Consider that if this company were valued using similar metrics to the big oil companies in North America, it would be worth $40 billion… nearly 20-times this company’s market cap.

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“And this first giant discovery is just the beginning.

“This very savvy company also owns parts of six other oil fields in Iraq, two of which are already in production. Together, these fields could hold over 6.2 billion barrels of oil.

“The point is, we don’t have to try to guess WHICH company is going to own the first big new oil field in Iraq. It’s already been decided… and we can take full advantage of the situation with a tiny penny stock today. ”

OK, so it’s certainly a stretch to call this a penny stock, in my mind, but this is indeed …

Heritage Oil (HOC in Toronto, HOIL in London, HGOCF on the pink sheets)

Heritage is a diversified oil company that’s on the verge of going from explorer to producer in a significant way, though they do already produce a small amount of oil from their properties in Russia. Their main focus is on Uganda, where they’ve discovered a big field and have some other properties that seem to be impressive enough to build up an oil infrastructure in that country, and in Kurdistan, Northern Iraq, where they have found one potentially large field and are planning to merge with another local producer.

Iraq is the one that gets people excited here, and their Miran West field is the one that has that potential of 2.3 to 4.2 million barrels (according to them and their recent exploratory drilling), though Uganda sounds like it’s a little further along. You can see the information about their Iraq holdings here[2], and about Uganda here[3]. Uganda oil export could start as soon as 2011 using rail transport, or 2013 or 2014 if a pipeline is built; their major Kurdistan field, Miran West, could possibly start a small amount of production by the end of this year with truck transport.

The big deal that they’ve proposed is basically a merger of equals with Genel Energy, a Turkish company which owns some properties in Kurdistan and working interests in two fields that are already producing, including Taq Taq. This will create (assuming it goes through) a very large company in the region, with possible production of over 40,000 bbl/d by the end of the year from Kurdistan. And it would also create a much bigger company — Genel is private, so Heritage would essentially be doubling its share count and Genel’s owners would own half of the new Heritage (which they plan to change to HeritaGE) … in effect, it’s technically a reverse takeover of Heritage by Genel.

And when I say that I don’t consider this a penny stock, that’s because it’s nearly a midcap company now by many measures, and will probably be considered one by most people if the merger goes through — it has a market cap of better than 1.5 billion pounds, which at the current rate is about $2.5 billion, so after the merger it would be in the neighborhood of a $5 billion company. It may well be undervalued based on the prospective reserves, though those are still really being explored in many cases, but it’s not what I’d call a penny stock or an undiscovered gem, this is one of the biggest exploration and production oil companies in London and, after the reverse takeover/merger, may well make it into the FTSE 100.

Heritage is an interesting company, and it may well become a world-beater if it develops a strong foothold in those big Kurdistan oil fields and manages to avoid falling prey to the corruption or shifting political tides in the region — after all, their half-owner would be Turkish, and among Iraq, Kurdistan and Turkey one might expect some real tension to persist for many years to come. As of 2008 they were certainly not profitable, but they are increasing production quickly at their operating fields, and Uganda and Miran West certainly should keep them in silk ties for a long time … throw in the bonus oil fields they’re exploring around the world, from Malta to Mali, and from Pakistan to Tanzania, and there may well be an oil major developing here if they play their cards right.

I’d still call this one very speculative, given the nature of this big corporate transaction, but I like the big insider ownership and I would like Heritage better if the deal went through — Uganda’s oil territory sounds nice, but Kurdistan is where the real action is right now, and Genel has an impressive history in the region and a nice share of the oil that has just started to be exported from Northern Iraq this Summer. The attention has been strong for this one and optimism about oil prices has returned, so while you could have bought shares for less than $7 back in April, when I wrote about Heritage for a Crisis Trader teaser[4], they will currently set you back about $9.

  1. read that writeup here, it also includes some of the broader Iraq big picture stuff: http://www.stockgumshoe.com/2009/07/iraqi-oil-the-most-dangerous-1400-youll-ever-see.html
  2. information about their Iraq holdings here: http://www.heritageoilplc.com/iraq.cfm
  3. about Uganda here: http://www.heritageoilplc.com/uganda.cfm
  4. wrote about Heritage for a Crisis Trader teaser: http://www.stockgumshoe.com/2009/04/the-great-red-oil-war-part-two-uganda.html

Source URL: https://www.stockgumshoe.com/reviews/phase-1-investor/1400-gains-from-iraqi-oil-part-two/

  1. Avatar
    Jul 27 2009, 12:10:12 pm

    Rather than throw a load of money at this one, why not split the bet between GKP.L Currently around 12p, with some decent land in four different areas, and the three Canadian Juniors, VST.V WZR.V & LFD.V who have just announced news today, and some in Heritage.

  2. Avatar
    Jul 27 2009, 12:22:24 pm

    Bot lots years ago for a buck. I found it playing the same gumshoe game which I greatly enjoyed. The key with IRAQ is there is an insider at
    Heritage who knows,went to school with, an important Iraqi family member,and learned a valuable
    hand “SHAKE”.

  3. Avatar
    Jul 27 2009, 01:05:15 pm

    the problem with this stock is a simpleone,by the time hussein obama finishes his first term,Iraq will be a satelite of iran,and all the oil fields willbe nationalized

  4. Avatar
    Jul 27 2009, 02:14:08 pm


    I have no problem discussing Obama’s policies, politics, or anything else of substance–I disagree with some of them too.

    I was simply startled; I thought we had finally evolved past the lame attempting-to-insult-him-by-implying-he’s-Muslim stage, is all.

  5. Avatar
    Jul 27 2009, 10:34:41 pm

    Everyone of voting age should read these two books. Don’t buy them, get them from the library.

    From Dreams of My Father:’I ceased to advertise my mother’s race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites.’

    From Dreams of My Father :’I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against my mother’s race.’

    From Dreams of My Father:’There was something about him that made me wary, a little too sure of himself, maybe. And white.’

    From Dreams of My Father:’It remained necessary to prove which side you were on, to show your loyalty to the black masses, to strike out and name names.’

    From Dreams of My Father:’I never emulate white men and brown men whose fates didn’t speak to my own. It was into my father’s image, the black man, son of Africa, that I’d packed all the attributes I sought in myself: the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, DuBois and Mandela.’

    And FINALLY,

    From Audacity of Hope:’I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.’

  6. Avatar
    Jul 28 2009, 08:21:12 am

    I bought awhile back knowing that Iraq was having internal disputes, because the KURDS agreed that the oil revenue was Iraq”s not just the Kurds and signed deals using the pipelines of Iraq. Still unrest is a problem and the disagreement between the Sunni and Shite groups could cause this hold thing to collapse. The necessary tool will be the US pullout, so sell before we leave.

  7. Avatar
    Aug 4 2009, 06:08:03 pm

    Don’t like this company. I hate companies in war torn regions. Although they are ‘stable’ now… I don’t feel their presents is really fair. How the hell does this company get the right to stake land in a foreign country…

    anyway, do you research. and you’ll find out that the board is full of a couple of people which stink of military background. im talking “security services” for the US gov. during the war in Iraq… etc etc…


    look into the second fella. dyodd obviously. i dont know everthing.

  8. Avatar
    Gary W
    Sep 10 2009, 09:24:46 pm

    By the way – no matter who rules Iraq they’re gonna need money and oil is about the only asset they have. So nationalization is no problem – but terrorism is. A 3 to 5 year horizon will do you good.

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