Two Discoveries that Change Everything

Andy Obermueller's picture

Friday, September 18, 2009 - 11:38pm

by Andy Obermueller

Crude oil has risen above $72 a barrel, but cheap oil just got a little cheaper.

Recently, I looked at the value of the world's leading will double its crude reserves, and yet its stock has only risen about +8%.

Now, admittedly, Anadarko will have to spend some money to get this oil to the surface. Twenty-five years ago, it wouldn't have even been possible. Back then, it took all the engineering prowess the industry had to operate wells deeper than 600 feet.

But the 'Venus' well off Sierra Leone is more than a mile below the water's surface. The techniques that will be used to exploit this find are the industry's cutting edge.

More than the math behind Anadarko might be changing.

Between this latest multibillion-barrel find and a similarly sized discovery by BP in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this month, a long-held theory about oil production may have been disproved.

The idea, known as Hubert's Peak, suggests that the world is on the downhill slope of oil production. These deep-water finds seem to suggest that that's not true.

And as the oil giants are having a harder and harder time accessing new finds in Russia and the Middle East, the technology that Anadarko and others will develop becomes ever more valuable. Advanced drilling and production techniques that will be perfected off the Sierra Leonean coast may allow dozens of more sites in West Africa or the Arctic to be developed.

Not only does buying Anadarko give investors cheap oil, it also gives them ownership of the technology that could bring billions of more barrels of oil to the surface.

As I noted, Anadarko has 40% of the Venus well. Its other owners are also publicly traded. They are Britain's Tullow Oil (London: TLW, GBP 1245), which owns 10%, Spain's Repsol-YPF (Madrid: REP) which controls 25%; as does Australia's Woodside Ltd. (ASX: WPL, AUS$55).

Investors with international brokerage accounts should consider these companies; investors not equipped to trade in Madrid, London or Sydney should seek domestically listed exchange-traded funds that hold the shares. Failing that, I'd stick to Anadarko and wait for the market to realize its value -- and to see what's it's going to announce next.

Andy Obermueller does not personally hold positions in any securities mentioned in this article.
StreetAuthority LLC does not hold positions in any securities mentioned in this article.