For our 2016 list, please see Best Natural Gas Stocks: Top Performers.
Though 2012 was less than stellar for many resource companies, some that posted some notable gains. Here is a list of the top 10 TSX Venture Exchange-listed oil and gas juniors as measured by year-to-date gains.
1. Emperor Oil (TSXV:EM); current price: $0.41; year-to-date gain: 561.54 percent; 52-week high: $0.62.
Emperor Oil is an oil and gas exploration company with projects in Turkey and Sudan. On September 23, Emperor signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with State Petroleum Overseas that enabled it to acquire 85 percent of a 50-percent working interest in a late-stage oil project in Block 7 in Sudan. The Block 7 concession is 10,000 square kilometers and through the MOU, Emperor intends to develop three discovered oil fields.
The company also announced a non-brokered private placement of up to 40,000,000 units at a price of $0.50 per unit for gross proceeds of up to $20 million. In late October, Emperor announced that it had received subscriptions for roughly 30,000,000 units — a gross total of approximately $12 million.
2. Africa Oil (TSXV:AOI); current price: $6.75; year-to-date gain: 323.42 percent; 52-week high: $11.35.
Africa Oil is a Canadian oil and gas exploration company with assets in Kenya, Ethiopia, Mali and Puntland (Somalia). The company is exploring in the East African Rift Basin and has both operated and non-operated blocks, with an under-explored proven petroleum system.
Last week, Africa Oil closed the final tranche of its $232.5-million private placement announced in late November. Proceeds from the transaction are being used to fund Africa Oil’s ongoing work program.
Africa Oil announced several new oil discoveries this year, starting with the Ngamia-1 well in Kenya, where the company encountered over 20 meters of net oil pay in March. More recently, in November, Africa Oil announced a second significant Kenyan oil discovery at the Twiga South-1 well, where it encountered 30 meters of net oil play in the tertiary sandstone reservoirs.
3. PetroAmerica Oil (TSXV:PTA); current price: $0.35; year-to-date gain: 238.10 percent; 52-week high: $0.37.
PetroAmerica is a junior oil and gas exploration company with a large portfolio of prospective oil properties in the Llanos Basin in Colombia. On December 17, the company announced a material increase to the reserves at the Las Maracas field. The company had previous announced a new discovery at Las Maracas-3 in July, when it tested 30-degree API oil at a rate of 1,491 barrels of oil per day (bopd).
Las Maracas reached production of 6,850 bopd on December 3 when Las Maracas-5 was brought on stream. The company is continuing with its drilling and testing at La Casona-1, where in November the company discovered light oil.
4. Wellstar Energy (TSXV:WSE.H); current price: $0.15; year-to-date gain: 211.11 percent; 52-week high: $0.19.
Wellstar Energy is a Canada-based junior oil and gas exploration company. The company signed up for a purchase and sale agreement with a private Colorado company and aims to acquire oil and gas assets in North Dakota. Wellstar announced on December 17 that it is set to acquire $51.5 million worth of North Dakota Bakken oil assets. The acquisition includes a 40-percent joint venture on approximately 18,000 contiguous acres of land.
5. Primeline Energy Holdings (TSXV:PEH); current price: $0.57; year-to-date gain: 171.43 percent; 52-week high: $0.84.
Primeline Energy is an oil and gas exploration company that is focused on upstream opportunities in China. Though still at an early stage, the company aims to become a major supplier of oil and gas to the East Chinese market. Share prices for Primeline started climbing in June when the company received approval for its environmental impact assessment for the LS36-1 gas field from the State Oceanic Administration. The company is now waiting on final approval from the Overall Development Commission of the Chinese Central Government.
6. Kingsland Energy (TSXV:KEC); current price: $0.54; year-to-date gain: 170.00 percent; 52-week high: $0.73.
Kingsland is a Saskatchewan-based junior oil company focused on using advanced drilling and production optimization techniques to develop significant oil reserves in Canada’s prairie provinces. Its share price jumped in January this year when the company acquired two prospective discoveries near Weyburn, Saskatchewan. The company aims to develop the pools using horizontal drilling technology, which will ensure optimal reservoir development.
Kingsland also closed the acquisition of Condor Canada Petroleum’s assets in the Steelman-Ward area of Saskatchewan. The company will hold a 100-percent working interest in the 1,760 acres of petroleum and natural gas leases.
7. Petromin Resources (TSXV:PTR); current price: $0.10; year-to-date gain: 150.00 percent; 52-week high: $0.12.
Petromin is a petroleum and natural gas company exploring for both conventional and unconventional energy deposits. Currently the company is focused on its coalbed methane (CBM) in Western China. The company also has five oil- and gas-producing properties in Alberta’s Western Canada Sedimentary Basin.
In August, the company provided investors with an update for its Liuhuaggou CBM project which included a report —The Norwest Report— detailing a higher level of CBM contingent resources. The best estimate for the area was 147.43 billion cubic feet of CBM.
In early November, Petromin announced that the Morningside oil prospect, located in Alberta, had begun production.
8. Eaglewood Energy (TSXV:EWD); current price: $0.43; year-to-date gain: 145.71 percent; 52-week high: $0.62.
Eaglewood Energy is a Canada-headquartered oil and gas company with exploration licenses in Papua New Guinea. The company saw its share price start to climb in August, following the announcement that it had closed the sale of Petroleum Prospecting License (PPL) 260 as well as the default on the obligations that Mega Fortune International required to be completed. That led to Eaglewood maintaining a 65-percent equity interest and operatorship of PPL 259.
The company’s CEO, Brad Hurtubise, commented: “We are very pleased to have completed the Esso transaction which provides additional capital to re-deploy in our other licenses. As a result of the recent drilling activity around the PPL 259 area and the positive results from our first phase of seismic on PPL 259, we have seen a lot of interest in farming into the license. With the non-completion of the Mega farmout, we are now in a position to be able to do additional farmouts on better terms than the Mega transaction and still maintain a large working interest and operatorship. We have more than sufficient cash on our balance sheet to fund our next phase of seismic and complete the site preparation for our next well in Q1 2013. We are confident we can find a partner to come into the license to help us continue to fund its further development.”
In November, Eaglewood started a new 2D seismic survey on PPL 259. The company will focus on high-grading the Nama and Malisa leads outlined in April 2012. The company will also look at the Ekelesia lead.
9. Bayshore Petroleum (TSXV:BSH); current price: $0.33; year-to-date: 113.33 percent; 52-week high: $0.36.
Bayshore Petroleum has Canadian unconventional and conventional oil and gas prospects. The company announced in June the start of drilling in an exploratory well — Bayshore Radevill 8-5-6-17W2 in Radville, Saskatchewan. The company entered into an MOU with CCC CanSino Corp — a Canadian private research and development company based out of Calgary. The MOU is for a 10-year license agreement to use CanSino’s proprietary catalyst in the oilsands upgrading application, in order to upgrade bitumen directly into diesel-quality light oil.
In December, Bayshore announced a heavy oil pilot project. The company entered into an MOU with a private Saskatchewan-operating oil and gas company whereby Bayshore will construct a small-scale heavy oil upgrading facility using a cold catalytic cracking process. The initial process and upgrade is expected to produce 350 barrels of heavy oil per day.
10. Contact Exploration (TSXV:CEX); current price: $0.33; year-to-date: 113.33 percent; 52-week high: $0.36.
Contact Exploration is a Canadian oil and gas junior with a history of operating in Atlantic Canada. The company provided investors with operational updates on December 13 that highlighted the first horizontal drill at the company’s Montney well in Alberta being placed on December 1. Over the first seven days, the well produced an average of 200 bbls of well head condensate/mmf natural gas. The company holds a 37.5-percent working interest before payout and a 25-percent interest after payout in the well.
Securities Disclosure: I, Vivien Diniz, hold no investment interest in any of the securities mentioned.