Pierpont, Oil and why God May be Muslim.

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    Something here for everyone, ASX General, humour, religion. Hmmm, lets go with ASX General, it is about a float after all.

    This from todays Pierpont article in the Aust Financial Review.

    Get the good oil direct from above
    Nov 15

    When Pierpont was an infant at Sunday school, he used to think God's major occupations were creating the universe, breeding fowls of the air, smiting unbelievers and resting on Sundays.

    Although acting on the evidence of the Bible and several learned vicars, Pierpont was wrong. God actually spends his time giving inside tips to oil explorers.

    Evidence for this proposition is available from Compass, the Australian television show closest to God. Pierpont was watching it last Sunday hoping (in vain) to learn something new about Jerusalem's historic Dome of the Rock when he noticed an unusual hat.

    Now the Holy Land has the world's largest range of bizarre headgear. The Palestinians wrap their faces in tea towels - mainly to stop police identifying the ones who are throwing rocks at Israeli tanks. The Jews wear skullcaps (perfectly justifiable on religious grounds, but one of the planet's more impractical chapeaux otherwise) and some of the rabbis wear peculiar black cubes just above their foreheads.

    Amid all this exotic millinery, suddenly a stetson appeared on the screen. It wouldn't have caused comment in Dallas, but in Jerusalem - surrounded by shawls and yashmaks - it appeared severely abnormal.

    The stetson was worn by a chap called Hayseed Stephens - a name that Pierpont has great difficulty believing. Hayseed, who said he was from a company called Ness Energy International, declared: "God has spoken to me and said the greatest oil field in the world will be discovered at the south-western end of the Dead Sea."

    Hayseed (the name must surely be one of Gerry Doogue's little jokes) said his geologists had estimated the field size at 40 billion barrels. That's a humungous field. Saudi Arabia's annual production is only about 2.8billion.

    However, before you all stampede out to buy stock in Ness Energy, Pierpont should point out that Hayseed had added that the estimate hadn't been made on tiresome geological data such as sand porosity, recovery factors and hydrocarbon saturation. Instead, the geologists had relied on the direct word of God, as delivered to them by Hayseed.

    God certainly makes a handy farm-in partner. You don't have to stress out interpreting seismic data to calculate net pay from drill-column depths. God just gets to the bottom line by giving you the reservoir size straight away.

    Pierpont immediately checked this scientific breakthrough with Bottle the geologist, who has been known to have some far-out seances after lunching on his third bottle of Hennessy.

    "I actually did some work on Israel once," he recalled. "I thought the best place to drill was slap in the middle of the West Bank, but I gave the idea away because I didn't fancy being stoned to death.

    "The Dead Sea? It's a subduction area and still sinking. A big fault runs slap through the middle of it and all the oil's on the eastern side - where Iraq and Saudi Arabia are. Israel's on the western side."

    Having worked up a thirst with that many words, Bottle hung up and headed for the gin cabinet. Luckily, Pierpont was still watching Compass, where Hayseed was saying: "All I can do is drill. It is up to God to provide the oil. I believe with all my heart that if in some way I or my geologists or geophysicists have missed it, I believe God is capable of moving that oil where we are going to drill."

    Those words opened a whole new dimension of petroleum geology for Pierpont. Don't worry about domes and sands and structures: if you get God on your side, He'll put the oil wherever you drill.

    Don't tell the Inquisition, but Pierpont has a few problems with this theory. Back in the 1960s, the Reverend Malcolm Mackay was one of Australia's most prominent clerics. He was also chairman of Longreach Oil, which drilled all over the place and never struck enough oil to fill a hurricane lamp. Which leaves Pierpont with the conundrum that either God wasn't up to speed 40 years ago or Malcolm was a secret heretic.

    Maybe the answer is in the time span. As we all know, God created the earth in six days. When it comes to oil reservoir development, however, He uses a longer time-frame.

    Evidence for this is provided by the current prospectus for Great South Land Minerals Ltd, which is trying to raise $5 million from the punters to explore for oil and gas on onshore Tasmania on the basis of a tip from God a quarter of a century ago.

    Great South Land's chairman, Malcolm Bendall, says Great South Land and its associated companies "were set up as a result of a vision I received from God in 1977". As that was 25 years back and Great South Land is only just getting floated, the vision obviously wasn't shared by too many seed capitalists, so Pierpont can only assume they're all atheists down in Tassie.

    Malcolm says: "In this vision, I saw large structures, onshore Tasmania, filled with oil and gas." So, guided by God, Malcolm and his mates undertook the first major regional seismic program in Tasmania.

    The company's exploration licence covers nearly all of the eastern half of Tasmania and they reckon there are potential petroleum traps south of Launceston and under the Central Highlands.

    In purely hydrocarbon terms, Tasmania is well worth a drill hole or two. Historically there have been reports of bitumen, tar and oil seeps around Tasmania, prompting several exploration wells in the 1920s.

    However, they seem to have hit Jurassic dolerite at about 350 metres, which is very shallow in oil reservoir terms, especially in geological formations as old as Tasmania's. Pierpont therefore harbours agnostic doubts whether any oil seams will be thick enough - given the age of the rocks - to host really good fields.

    Pierpont also hopes Bob Brown and his tree-hugging greenies haven't read the prospectus, because the areas south of Launceston and in the Central Highlands are some of the most scenic in Australia. The thought of drilling Crater Lake for fossil fuels would doubtless send Bob into terminal shock.

    But Pierpont's main problem with Great South Land is theological. After asking the punters to kick in $1 a share to punch holes in Tasmania, Malcolm's opening letter in the prospectus says: "The directors of Great South Land Minerals Ltd believe that the company has exciting prospects and on behalf of the board I recommend this investment opportunity to you. You should be aware, however, that exploring for oil and gas carries significant risks and investment in our company's shares at this time must be regarded as speculative."

    Just a second! How can it be speculative when God reckons there are large structures filled with oil and gas? Or has God suddenly become fallible in the 21st century?

    OK, maybe God's had a losing punt or two on the stockmarket and told Malcolm to hedge his bets. So for safety, don't buy into Great South Land unless God's signed up for the float, too.

    And Great South Land had better drill up its targets quickly. There are 40 billion barrels coming on stream from the Dead Sea any day now. Pierpont has that on absolutely supreme authority.

    Then Pierpont was struck by a final worrying thought. If God moves the oil around so that it is found by the people He prefers, then the evidence (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Iraq, etc) is overwhelming that God is a Muslim.

    So Malcolm and Hayseed had better do a fast conversion and roll out their prayer mats before drilling.
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