Movies, TV series, and books have all romanticized the “wildcatter,” the long-on-guts, short-on-cash drillers who find ways to strike oil – and get rich.
It’s no surprise at all that we love these stories: After all, the moxie, independence, and “no-surrender” mindset that yields the “gusher” is a quintessential American wealth tale.
While most of these real-life stories with “fairy-tale endings” took place many years ago, Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors says that the book on the wildcatter isn’t closed.
If anything, the story is more compelling than ever – as is the wealth potential that goes with it.
In a sit-down I recently held with Kent, he talks about something he refers to as the era of “The New Wildcatter” – where new technologies and other innovations add muscle to the moxie and independence that has always defined oil drillers. He details the “Wildcatter Mindset” – and a record-breaking opportunity he’s tracking.
Best of all: Kent tells me how anyone can become a New Wildcatter.
You can join in – without ever leaving your armchair.
Here’s an edited transcript of our chat…
The Market That’s Still Minting Millionaires
William Patalon III: So Kent, let me get us going here by sharing a story – one you’ll recognize, since you were the impetus for it. I just finished reading “Titan,” the superb Ron Chernow biography on the life of billionaire John D. Rockefeller.
Dr. Kent Moors: What a great, great book.
WPIII: It is… it truly is. Now, I mention that as a starting point here for a couple of reasons. First, you were the one who recommended it to me – and I wasn’t disappointed. You know how much I dig history
KM: Almost as much as baseball?
WPIII: [laughing] Almost… almost. And you know that I have an hour-long drive – each way, each day – back and forth to work, and that I listen to audiobooks to pass the time. “Titan” was so good that I actually looked forward to my commuting time.
But it was the second reason, the “real” reason, that you recommended this biography that has me mentioning it here. You wanted to make a point, didn’t you?
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KM: That’s right, Bill. And the story of Rockefeller – the creator of Standard Oil and one of the entrepreneurs who built America – makes that point in such an eloquent manner. You see, there are many different markets that people can invest in.
WPIII: Like tech, like gold, like commodities, to name a few?
KM: Exactly, exactly. But of all those markets, of all those places people can invest, there’s one sector – one market – that’s special.
WPIII: The energy market…
KM: That’s right – the energy market. You see, Bill, for many different reasons – some of which we’ll get to here – the energy market is the one sector where it’s possible for virtually anyone to build their fortune.
KM: Yes, anyone. With the right opportunity, the right timing, the right strategy, and – perhaps most important of all – the right mindset, the energy sector is the market that offers investors the single best chance at getting rich.
WPIII: And we’re going to talk about all of this here today.
KM: We are.
WPIII: Let’s start with the basic premise here: Why energy? Why is energy so unique? From the discussions that you and I have enjoyed during the decade we’ve been colleagues here at Money Map Press, I know exactly what you’re getting at here.
But for all our subscribers, perhaps you could explain – in more detail – just what it is that sets energy apart.
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KM: Absolutely. You see, the energy sector is one of the few markets on Earth where supply and demand cycles are clearly observable – in areas ranging from rig counts, production numbers and commodities prices, to the price you’re paying for oil to heat your house, and what you’re paying at the pump to fill your car or truck up with gasoline.
Those kinds of observations – which I know you like to describe to your own readers as “Econ 101” indicators – can be turned to the investor’s advantage. So, too, can the volatility – the outsized price swings – which, utilized deftly, can magnify profits.
WPIII: But it’s not market forces alone that we’re talking about here, is it?
KM: No, it’s not. Also key are such things as innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship, the key “basic ingredients” to capitalism – which also happen to be the raw materials for the fortunes that can best be made in the oil and energy sector.
WPIII: I think most investors know this, intuitively, don’t they? I mean, just think about it: There’s a highly romanticized view of energy and oil in this country – and in many places around the world – isn’t there?
And that turbocharged viewpoint is encapsulated a lot by one term – a word that’s actually a descriptor because it evokes the promise of lightning in a bottle, formidable wealth, and even a rags-to-riches life transformation.
KM: That’s it. And that term you’re thinking about is “wildcatter.”
WPIII: That’s it, Kent. That’s it exactly.
These Oil Players Are Bigger Than Life (and Rich as Heck, Too)
KM: What I’m talking about here is the “Wildcatter’s Mindset.” Let’s consider this for a minute, Bill. And let’s look at some examples of what we’re talking about here – because I think it’s important for folks to understand the conventional definition of that term “wildcatter.”
WPIII: Because you have a new view, don’t you?
KM: I do. I do, indeed. This “new view” you refer to is for energy investors to adopt a new mindset. I want them to think of themselves as “The New Wildcatters” – and to embrace a visionary, decisive strategy that will allow them to reap fortunes from the greatest wealth-building market on earth.
The timing for this “new” mindset is perfect, you see, because there’s a new opportunity looming in energy – one of the biggest we’re going to see in this century, and maybe one of the biggest ever. This opportunity will give investors who move now a shot at the huge potential returns that only the energy sector affords. That’s not new. What is new is that this opportunity is based on – and capitalizes on – the new realities that are taking hold in the oil and energy business.
WPIII: And this “opportunity” is based on something called a “one-timer” – a onetime event that, by definition, won’t be repeated.
KM: It won’t be repeated. It’s a unique event. In other words, the investors who grab this opportunity will have a shot at windfall-like profits that may not come this way again.
WPIII: As for profits, we’re talking about gains of…
KM: …As much as 1,329%.
WPIII: Here’s where this gets so fascinating for me. You’ve likened this profit window here to the early days of drilling, when the investors and entrepreneurs who were willing to think independently and act decisively had the chance to grab the fortunes that were right in front of them. Those folks were often referred to – and referred to quite reverently, as we’ll see in a minute – as “Wildcatters.”
KM: That’s right, Bill. And because of that, investors who grab onto this opportunity I’ve just found truly will be positioning themselves as The New Wildcatters.
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WPIII: I have to tell you, Kent: I love this term. Because in an industry where new finds are referred to as “discoveries,” I think the New Wildcatter concept really captures the magnitude and uniqueness of this new opportunity that you have discovered.
Because I knew this is what we were going to be talking about, I did some research into the pop-culture allure of oil drillers, wildcatters – whatever term you want to use. And there is very much a romanticized view of the wildcatter, isn’t there?
KM: Movies, novels, TV series, even plays, all celebrate the moxie of the oil drillers.
WPIII: Truthfully, Kent, I love this stuff. But even I was stunned by how much I found. I mean, with movies alone there are hundreds of flicks with stories revolving around the pursuit of oil wealth.
That includes some true classics, like “Giant” with James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor, “Hellfighters” with John Wayne, sci-fi stuff like “Armageddon,” post-apocalyptic tales like Mel Gibson’s “The Road Warrior,” and even dramas like “There Will Be Blood.”
KM: Even political thrillers, like Robert Redford’s “Three Days of the Condor.”
WPIII: Actually, that’s a personal favorite of mine.
KM: I know. We’ve talked about that, which is why I mentioned it.
WPIII: And this isn’t limited to movies. You mentioned novels. And television. I mean, folks probably even remember “Dallas” – both the original, with Larry Hagman as J.R. Ewing, and the recent TNT reboot.
No matter what the pop-culture medium, no matter the genre and no matter the storyline, the fact that the topic of oil exploration is so ubiquitous is very telling, isn’t it? And it doesn’t even matter whether the portrayals are positive or negative, does it?
KM: That’s just it: It doesn’t matter. The relevant point here is much deeper – and eminently more interesting, given what we’re about to talk about.
WPIII: Explain what you mean.
KM: You see, I believe that the pervasiveness of this storyline – well, let’s call it the wildcatter storyline – is what’s important. And that storyline goes something like this…
In the oil patch, you have small numbers of super-motivated, risk-eschewing, high-energy, go-against-the-grain visionaries who see opportunity where others don’t. These guys are willing to take the risks needed to reap the huge rewards. And they reap those rewards. These guys win big – and get rich.
WPIII: Give me an example.
KM: I’m thinking, specifically, about guys like Thomas Baker Slick, Sr., the wildcatter who discovered the Cushing Oil Field, then the largest in Oklahoma.
WPIII: Oil driller Tom Slick – talk about “names that work.”
[Both men laugh.]
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KM: It’s a great name – and an even greater story. Slick was born in Pennsylvania in 1883 and went into the oil business as a young man. By the early 1900s, he’d developed a reputation as what’s known as a “good lease man,” meaning he was adept at snapping up lots of oil leases at very favorable prices.
Another driller hired him, but that Tryon, Okla., partnership went bust after several drilling ventures generated only dry holes. So Slick signed on elsewhere and traveled to Canada, Kentucky, and other places. At one point, Slick drilled at least 10 “test wells” – and they all came up dry.
That shackled him with the nickname “Dry Hole Tom.”
KM: Exactly. Slick eventually made his way back to Tryon, where he’d started out, and then onto Cushing. In March 1912, at a depth of more than 2,000 feet, Slick struck oil – the “gusher” kind of strike that’s almost a movie cliché. Oil reportedly spewed at least 40 feet above the top of the drilling derrick. That first “gusher” changed Slick’s fortunes – forever.
By 1929, he was reportedly the largest independent oil operator in the United States. His net worth was estimated to be as high as $100 million – or about $1.46 billion in today’s money.
WPIII: He got the fortune. And also a new nickname, too, right, Kent?
KM: [laughing] You betcha. Never again did anyone call him “Dry Hole Tom.” He was now Tom Slick, the “King of the Wildcatters.”
WPIII: That’s just a great tale.
KM: It is. And, you know, the respect we afford these “wildcat winners” runs very deep.
WPIII: Tell folks what you mean.
KM: Anyone who disputes what I’m saying should take a look at the Texas State Historical Association website [Note: The link will take you straight to the TSHA page. We’re not responsible for the content]. Under the heading “Oil Entrepreneurs and Wildcatters,” there’s a two-page list containing 80 total names – and every single one is “clickable,” so that you can call up the person’s bio.
WPIII: And by “bio,” you mean “Here is this person’s ‘rags-to-riches’ success story. Of all the folks we could write about, we could honor and lionize, we chose these wildcatters, oil drillers, and entrepreneurs. Read and enjoy.”
KM: [laughing] Bingo. Idolizing oil barons – and energy millionaires – goes right to the core of our capitalist culture, Bill. It really does.
Here’s another example – one that goes back about a decade. It was July 2008. A gent named Roy M. Huffington passed away at 90 years of age.
Here’s a guy who was an “independent,” who lived that rags-to-riches story. His oilman father died when Roy was only 14. So he had to get up at 4:30 to deliver newspapers to help his family eat. He went on to Harvard, hit “gushers” in 17 of the first 18 wells he drilled, then went on to make a fortune drilling for gas in, of all places, Indonesia. When he died, he rated a long obituary in The New York Times.
WPIII: I love that story.
KM: Me too.
WPIII: So where does that bring us?
Anyone Has What It Takes to Be an Oil “Wildcatter”
KM: There’s a message here. A message that says we respect the qualities that these wildcatters display. And we respect the fact that their vision, independence, and willingness to act resulted in great fortunes.
And the fact is that this same “reality” – this same outcome – is possible for each and every one of us, too.
WPIII: Without having to go out and actually drill wells. Which brings us to The New Wildcatters.
KM: Correct, Bill. You see, I believe that the individual retail investor – someone who goes to work in an office every day, who’s never even seen a drill rig – can create a vast fortune for themselves and their loved ones without having to travel the physical path of the wildcatter.
All they have to do is to emulate the spirit of the wildcatter.
WPIII: Kent, that is powerful stuff.
KM: [smiling] I know. And that’s why I like this concept – this strategy – so much.
WPIII: And this brings us to your new opportunity. The way you intend to profit. And how folks can become The New Wildcatters.
KM: That’s right. To explain this fully, I need to harken back to our story about Tom Slick and his breakthrough well, because this is a tale that explains the behavior of the “investing crowd,” and how that opens up a huge window for wealth.
WPIII: [nodding] I remember this part of the story. It fascinated me.
KM: As it did me. Remember, it’s March 1912, and Slick just hit his big “gusher.”
Not wanting “the word” to get out before they could buy up all the leases in the surrounding area, Slick capped his well – and even spread fresh dirt on the pools of oil that the gusher had created. He sent agents around – quickly and quietly – to make cash deposits on all the horses, buggies, and other gear in Cushing to hamstring the efforts of the lease traders who would eventually descend like hordes on the region. Now, all of this was fair game. But Slick’s efforts to keep the strike secret were in vain. News of the oil strike got out, and the oil version of a “gold rush” struck the area.
For Slick, it didn’t matter.
The fact that he’d been first – thanks to his independent thinking, willingness to buck the crowd, and decisive action – ensured his fortune. In fact – and with your love of history, Bill, you’ll really like this – this well was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. And secondary recovery strategies kept the well in operation: It was still producing in March 2012, when the city of Drumright celebrated its centennial.
WPIII: This really delivers us right to the “onetime event” you’ve been alluding to.
KM: It does, Bill. And that event is the looming initial public offering (IPO) of Saudi Aramco, the Saudi Arabian national oil company and the single most profitable company in the world.
The $2 trillion stock offering will likely eclipse the four biggest ever U.S. IPOs combined. That’s because Saudi Aramco has access to 265 billion barrels of oil – enough to power every American car, truck, ship, and airliner for the next 36 years.
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WPIII: And this is where the New Wildcatters mindset really comes into play, isn’t it?
KM: That’s exactly right. You see, the inclination of most investors will be to wait for the actual IPO to take place and to just buy shares in that. That’s what “The Crowd” – the investing masses – will do.
But wildcatters will do something very different. With the independent thinking, decisive action, and inventiveness we’ve been talking about here, The New Wildcatters will move first. They’ll act now.
The Aramco IPO deal will infuse one of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds with $2 trillion in spendable cash. I already know where that cash will be spent – and on what.
WPIII: It’s kind of like knowing exactly where the next big gusher will be drilled before it ever happens, and then getting there first to buy the land before that ever happens.
KM: That’s pretty much it. We know how that cash will be spent once Saudi Aramco goes public. We know what assets will be purchased. So we want to “get there first” – and snap up those assets ourselves right now.
In doing so, when that $2 trillion washes through the markets, it will pump up the value of the assets we already own. There’s absolutely nothing wrong or out-of-bounds about this. It’s just good strategy – a strategy that’s brought to life by a willingness to think independently and act decisively and boldly.
WPIII: Last time I checked, that’s what capitalism was all about.
KM: It is.
And here’s what I really like. The original wildcatters used old-fashioned drilling bits, as much cash as they could cobble together, some guesswork, and their wits to make their fortunes.
Like their namesakes, The New Wildcatters will make use of that same old-fashioned moxie, that same decisiveness, and that same willingness to act independently of the crowd to make their fortunes.
But The New Wildcatters will add something new to the mix: their imaginations. They’ll utilize their imaginations to “see” what the future looks like and to act on that financial precognition now.
WPIII: This willingness to be bold, to be decisive, and to be independent really delivers powerful benefits, doesn’t it?
First, they’re buying assets with a rich, rich potential at their cheapest possible price levels – knowing, as we do, that the IPO will cause their values to soar. Because once the IPO is actually done, investors will realize where (into what assets) all that cash is headed.
I mean, we saw just that with your story about Tom Slick. Once “the word” of his gusher got out, other investors rushed in to buy the same assets, which drove up the price of everything.
KM: Exactly. And if I’m an investor who’s smart enough to “move first” – as wildcatters do, and if other investors later want to stampede in and drive the price of assets I already own sky-high, that’s fine by me. If I’m an investor, that just quickens my journey to wealth.
WPIII: Helped greatly, combined profits of as much as 1,329%.
KM: That’s right, Bill.
WPIII: Best of all, you have a strategy – a “game plan” – that identifies the specific assets to buy, and the other moves they should make right now – so they can end up as The New Wildcatters.
KM: I do, Bill. I do. I’d love to tell them about it. And I’d love to hear back from them down the road – to see exactly how this New Wildcatters strategy has changed their lives.
Because it will. It definitely will.
WPIII: If you’re interested and want to hear more, it’s as simple as clicking here. Kent will describe his entire strategy – including the moves to make.
And I’d just like to thank you for your time, Kent. This has been fun.
KM: It always is, Bill. Thanks to you, too.
[Editor’s Note: To check out Kent’s “New Wildcatters” energy play – which offers a combined gain of 1,329% – visit him here.]
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