So for example, the last month we got $53 to $54 a barrel, after the blend-in tariff for our West Hazel production, which is probably the lowest you’re going to see for a long time. Our netback on that oil was still greater than $20 a barrel. But for that $53.32 a barrel we sold, if transported by rail, we remove the pipeline tariff, we remove the blend for the diluents and we get $9 more added to the netback value. (Related Article: Can Leak Detection End the Pipeline Impasse? Interview with Adrian Banica)
So what we’ll end up doing is trucking our oil from the field to a company called Altex Energy, which is partly owned by Shell Canada. Shell owns all the railway cars and all these railway cars get filled up with heavy crude and shipped down to their Port Arthur facility on the Gulf Coast. At Port Arthur what typically happens to our crude--because it’s somewhere between 11 and 13 degree oil—is it goes straight into bunker fuel for ships.
So the refinery doesn’t have to touch it in some cases and that’s where we get a pretty substantial bump. Then you’re not subject to pipeline apportion and issues. It just opens up whole new markets for you.
At the end of the day we will get somewhere around $66 or $63 a barrel this month and then we’re going to bump that up by another $9 next month by taking all the crude we have in West Hazel by rail. So our netback will be $35 to $40--and that’s just the West Hazel crude.
James Stafford: What is the market like for assets right now, from a junior’s perspective? What’s the ideal prospect?
Chris Cooper: Asset sales are heating up. We are finding that there are a lot of assets being marketed through companies like Sayer and NRG Divestments. There are also several larger brokerage firms representing companies for “strategic alternatives.”