$20 Trillion Report: “Underground Refinery Saves Canada’s Oil Sands”

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, March 27, 2008

This is one that several of you have sent my way in the last few days, a company that has a technology for more efficiently and effectively harvesting oil from the bitumen of Alberta.

The ad is for the $20 Trillion Report, a new newsletter service from Brian Hicks, who’s also hawking his book (Profit from the Peak) along with the newsletter.

And that might be what makes this ad sound familiar …

This one is, I expect, a new copywriter’s attempt to do better than the old ad that teased the same company.

In the old ad, which I wrote about in December, they called this Safe Growth with the Best Oil Sands Play. Not that exciting, right? Doesn’t pique the interest?

So perhaps this will be a more successful ad. If so, we’ll certainly see plenty of it in the months ahead, as long as oil remains at historically high prices.

So yes, this “Underground Refinery” is a technique for liquefying and extracting the oil that doesn’t require mining or digging out the oil sands and processing them aboveground. There are several techniques that have been used for doing this, but this particular ad is talking about the THAI process.

And the THAI Process, as it was back in December when I last covered this one, is still owned by …

Petrobank (PBG in Canada, PBEGF on the pink sheets)

The process is essentially a lower-cost way of generating heat underground to “melt” the bitumen and release something like syncrude that can be pumped to the surface. The current way of doing this, Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) involves using natural gas to generate steam, pumping the steam into the ground to heat the bitumen, and catching that bitumen in a lower cavity or drilled area of some kind. Or something like that. If it sounds like I know what I’m talking about, believe me, I don’t.

The new process just uses the bitumen itself instead of generating steam with natural gas, which is why it’s more efficient. They essentially light the edge of the bitumen on fire, use that the melt the rest of it, and control the combustion to release syncrude where they want it, and when. I have no idea how they do it, but it sounds really, really hard.

So … not much has changed since I last wrote about them, and you can read that older writeup if you’re interested. The shares have been quite volatile in a range from $40-60, but are right now just about at the same price they were in early December. The company did have some positive news in its last earnings release, but is not exactly shooting the lights out and catching everyone’s attention just yet — and it’s certainly not cheap on current income. I know I had a lot of readers who were interested in this one last time around, so perhaps they will have more to share with you … or maybe you’ve got a fabulous idea of your own. Let ‘er rip.

Are you getting our free Daily Update
"reveal" emails? If not,
just click here...