Friday, October 8, 2010

Sancerre, Chablis and 100 Billion Barrels of Oil (TRGL; HES)

There's not a lot of first quality wine grown in the Paris basin, the AOC's in the headline are close geographically but a long way from Romanée-Conti.
We posted "The World's Next Big Oil Play: Paris? (I'm talkin' France, not Texas) TRGL" 10 days ago in which I cautiously cautioned "Be cautious" regarding Toreador. The stock closed that day at $9.82, it's at $12.09 right now, but what's 23% between friends. Sorry.
From Bloomberg:

Paris Oil Drillers Target 100 Billion Barrels Near Brie, Wine
Pierre Henry farms wheat and corn east of Paris in an area famous for its Brie cheese. The next big hit might be crude oil.

Henry’s farm, 78 kilometers (49 miles) from the French capital, sits atop what geologists call the Paris Basin, an area bordering Champagne and Chablis vineyards that struck oil in 1958. Henry leased a field to Exxon Mobil Corp. in 1985, which drilled wells that have pumped for a quarter century.

These days Vermilion Energy Inc., Toreador Resources Corp. and partner Hess Corp. are targeting a bigger prize, oil trapped in Paris Basin shale rock that was previously too hard to tap. Techniques developed to pulverize rock and release petroleum have revolutionized exploration and boosted U.S. natural gas production 20 percent since 2006. Vermilion said it has had “positive” results so far in the area.

“If the Paris Basin was in West Texas it would already be drilled and would have pretty substantial production,” Craig McKenzie, Toreador’s chief executive officer, said in a telephone interview in August.
Geology of the basin, a saucer-shaped rock formation extending over 140,000 square kilometers (34 million acres), is similar to the Bakken Shale in North America. While the Paris Basin may hold 100 billion barrels, it’s unclear how much is recoverable, according to the French Energy Ministry. 

Last year, conventional oil output from wells around Paris declined to about 10,000 barrels a day, a quarter of the peak in 1988. Shale oil production around Paris may rise to about 50,000 barrels a day by 2020, according to Bernstein Research.

‘Positive Results’
New York-based Hess in May agreed to invest $120 million to help Toreador, based in Paris, search 800,000 hectares (1.97 million acres). Toreador plans a well this year about 50 kilometers away from Henry’s farm near the Napoleonic battle site of Chateau Thierry. Vermilion has over 176,000 acres and plans further tests in the region.

Toreador shares have risen 52 percent in New York trading since the agreement with Hess was announced on May 10, while Calgary-based Vermilion is up 23 percent in New York. The Morgan Stanley World/Energy index has dropped 3.1 percent....MORE
Americans might be forgiven for thinking of Chateau Thierry as a couple of WWI battles,  the first in June 1918 when the U.S. Marine Corps established their reputation for kicking Teutonic ass at CT and Belleau Wood and the second in July when the U.S. Army did the same.