Last week, Athabasca Oil Sands raised $1.32 billion in North America's biggest IPO of the year. If you didn't hear about it, that's probably because the shares listed in Toronto, not New York. This is only fitting for a firm focused on Canadian oil sands development.
AOSC picked a fine moment to IPO. The oil sands developer's public debut coincides with a run-up in oil prices that has seen futures top $86 a barrel in recent days. Crude hasn't traded this high since October 2008.
My readers met AOSC last fall, when the company sold a 60% interest in two of its oil sands projects to PetroChina
What makes this firm so attractive to the Chinese, and now to Canadian investors as well, is the very significant potential of its supersized oil sands projects. Net of the PetroChina sale, AOSC has 7.1 billion barrels of "contingent resources" across its 1.5 million acres of leases and permits. These are large, contiguous blocks of prime leasehold, too -- not a patchwork of claims scattered all around the Athabasca region, like Gulfport Energy's
Like Suncor Energy's
As with Cobalt International Energy