Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Cenovus and Suncor stand to profit from huge stake in worlds largest oil deposit.
The Athabasca oil sands (not the company of the same name) in Canada is far and away, the largest deposit of oil on the planet, dwarfing the 250 Billion barrels of the entire Middle East. This resource alone can power the entire continent of North America, for the next 100 years. So why do Americans believe that the Middle East is their biggest supplier of oil (it is not, Canada is) and why is there a general misconception that the Middle East is where all of the oil is (not!). Even the vaunted New York times still believes Canada is second to the Middle East with 175 billion barrels of oil. Even most Canadians don't realize the enormous resource they are sitting on. It spans across northern Canada in a mass larger than England (The country!)
I guess the answer can be found in the constant barrage of news, both good and bad, that emanates from the middle east on a weekly basis. Conservative, soft spoken, boring old Canada can't compete with all that noise, but it certainly can compete in the energy industry. The largest supply of oil on the planet and that does not even include other reserves such as the Bakkan or what may lie beneath the arctic circle!
With oil companies from every country salivating over what may lay beneath the Arctic circle, Canada, you must remember, owns 25% of the Arctic! Canada also lays claim to over 20% of the worlds water supply (with only .03% of the worlds population),the second largest deposits of natural gas and coal on the planet, More Diamonds, potash, gold, copper, wheat and nickel than any other country as well as great stores of Lithium, Rare Earth elements (REE's) lumber, seafood, gypsum, wheat, cattle, and more!
Canada has paid down deficits for 9 of the past 10 years, has the most stable banking system in the world and a friendly, conservative government that is business friendly. These are only some of the reasons why the Canadian dollar (the Loonie) has had a stellar year, and will for many years to come.
However, I digress, because this article is about the tremendous resource (and investment opportunity) that is the Athabasca oil sands. Stretching through the north of two provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan, the oil sands are massive. Since the invention of the "steam assisted gravity drainage system (SAGD) the oil sands have been a booming place for investors. Given the massive resource base, that boom has only really scratched the surface (excuse the pun).
The bitumen could cover the entire country of England, and is as deep as 140 feet. Why do companies persist in destroying the gulf of Mexico, and the beaches and marshes of the southern states, when they can literally set up shop on the sands, shovel the bitumen into what is essentially a giant washing machine, and produce enough oil to power our cars, homes, power plants or whatever, for the next 100 years and beyond. Not only that, but you can ship it through pipelines to the U.S. market.
Just promise the friendly Canadian government that you will clean up after you leave, and you have a viable, 100 year energy operation that will make money for you every year. The biggest consumer of the product is right next door, with an insatiable appetite and it now has the political problem of explaining to it's citizens why 1/4 of the American marsh land is in jeopardy of being destroyed for the next 10 years.
Do you even wonder why the Chinese are now buying into this massive resource? (And backing a pipeline to the Pacific coast so they can ship raw bitumen back to China for processing)
It's time for America to wake up, and smell the oil (and the money)!
(Disclosure - No holdings)
Our top pick in this environment is Cenovus oil (CVE). In 2009 Encana split it's oil and gas assets with Encana (ECA) keeping the natural gas component and a new company, Cenovus, keeping the oil assets (with some nat gas). In Q1 2010, Cenovus boosted it's production by 66% Cenovus has the best technology for processing bitumen in the oil sands and it is getting even better.There is no exposure in the gulf offshore drilling.
Expert high on Suncor - Cenovus - Canadian Oil