Investing In Oil

I spent most of Saturday listening to an investment presentation by some oil guys from Texas and Oklahoma. I come in contact with them on a previous deal. At that time I had shown their investment presentation to my CPA (who usually turns down every investment I show him) and he was so impressed, he decided to fly out and meet them. He’s become their accountant and is investing heavily in their current deal.

Incidentally, in the previous deal where I came across the oil guys, they were also investors like me in a gas pipeline deal in Texas. It was a pretty sweet deal and we should’ve gotten cashed out with a 30% profit after a year. Unfortunately our partner, Grant Wilson III, decided to swindle us out of the profits. After spending over a year with this jackass, subsidizing his travel and living expenses he just decided that he deserved all the profits and he’s disappeared. Luckily we got all our principle back.

We talked to a lawyer about our legal options. Apparently it’ll cost $25,000 to get a judgment against this crook and if he’s spent the profits, we won’t be able to collect anything. Spending $25,000 to maybe get around $60,000 doesn’t sound very appealing. Anyway, if you come across anyone called Grant Wilson III in Houston, who’s lived in Southern California and is originally from Boston, you should definitely keep your hand on your wallet at all times! The only positive thing in the whole deal is that I learnt a very important lesson about trust in business, and luckily it didn’t cost me much money.

But back to the original discussion about the oil men. Unlike Grant, who’s background is swindling people, oops, I meant to he was a lobbyist in Washington, these people actually have worked for decades in the oil industry. One of the principals has several patents and they all are extremely knowledgeable in various aspects of off-shore and on-land drilling and exploration.

They’ve basically put together a partnership deal where they find under-valued oil & gas producing properties with at least 10-12 years of production left. Usually its a distressed situation like an estate sale, lawsuit or defect in the title where the production has been stopped.

In the current “fund” (its called a fund but its really a partnership), they have 19 producing wells and will drill 2 more infill wells.

In normal deals that are “securitized” (sold as a security and governed by the SEC), dealer-brokers are involved and usually 30% of your investment goes to overheads like commissions, fees and marketing. Since only 70% of your investment actually gets invested you typically get low returns – in the range of 7-10%.

However, if you get an opportunity to invest directly with in a fund like this, where they aren’t paying any broker commissions, you can get a much better return. Assuming oil stays at $65 and gas stays at $6, my CPA thinks we can get a 24% annual return. If oil goes up, our returns go up too! And since about 40% of the return is considered return of principle, its not taxable. (Although it does lower your basis in the investment).

Unlike my other investments which have taken quite a while to start producing, this is supposed to start generating income with 60 days. Of course, I’m not holding my breath. But the fact that my CPA is investing alongside me and I felt I could definitely trust them gives me a lot of confidence.

I let you know how it goes.

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