Monday, February 21, 2005

Blame Canada.

Let's not kid one another - converting oil sands/tar sands or oil shale to oil is something nobody wants to do.

Not only does it require a bigger upfront investment than land based oil drilling, it also pollutes more, creates more global warming gases, is less efficient (you have to burn natural gas in the process, or use some form of energy), is more disfiguring to the environment and in the end produces the least desirable type of oil - heavy, sour crude.

But we're going to be doing it and oil companies are investing billions in it, because the peak oil problem is real, and corporations are finally buying in.

There are 3 areas that have huge deposits - Canada, Venezuela, and the US. The US form is oil shale, which is actually even less desirable than tar sands/oil sands. But the US government and the US Navy deems it to be strategic enough that they keep an eye on it anyway. [I believe the US Navy is the world's largest single energy user.]

Companies that have some exposure to this business, with their US ticker symbols:

Suncor - SU - Canada
Canadian Oil Sands - COSWF - Canada
Encana - ECA - Canada
Canadian Natural Resources - CNQ - Canada
Imperial Oil - IMO -Canada - ExxonMobil surrogate/possible takeover candidate.
Shell Canada - SC and RD - Shell subsidiary.
Nexen - NXY - Canada E&P.
Husky Oil - sub. of Hutchinson Whampoa - HUWHF
ConocoPhilips - COP - Canada and Venezuela
Statoil - STO - Venezuela
PetroCanada - PCZ - Canada
Murphy - MUR - Canada

[Some of the above companies are involved in Syncrude, as these undertakings are so expensive, they needed to band together.]

There are probably a couple I forgot, but that covers the majors. Further reading on this topic here, here, investment ideas, and a little here. (Post original publish - new link here.)

[Disclaimer: I own ECA and CNQ right now, have dabbled in a few of the others and probably will again.]