This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Tar Sands to Ethanol: Wacky Year for Energy

Stocks in this article: PEIX PZE ADM

One year ago, when the price of crude oil sat comfortably above $100 a barrel, the energy space was a feeding frenzy as investors tripped over each other looking for companies that were exploring new, sometimes zany sources of fuel.

Petrobras (PZE) dumping $240 billion into new oil wells off of Brazil's coast that go five miles deep?

Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) spending billions of dollars to extract oil from tar-sand pit mines in Canada?

Refining biofuel from blades of grass, or even the from the gizzards left over from your Thanksgiving dinner?

All of those ideas and more were deemed economically viable when crude oil was above three digits.

Today, oil is trading for about $40 a barrel, and the world that once offered infinite possibilities is now uncomfortably cluttered with limits, restrictions and caveats. Some energy sources that were considered cash cows a year ago now yield only marginal rates of return.

Other efforts to find energy sources have been shelved, and some investors and companies promoting them have gone bankrupt. The Des Moines Register reported that 16 of the country's 182 ethanol plants have filed for bankruptcy and cited a source that that number would likely surpass 40 in early 2009.

Here are some of the most newsworthy energy ideas that emerged in the commodity bubble, along with their current status as a viable source of fuel in the future:

Canadian Tar Sands: Let Them Keep This Dirty, Expensive Oil Resource

Recent estimates suggest that Canada's tar sands could hold more recoverable oil than Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, current science requires that oil be extracted from tar sands in a pit-mining process that is extremely expensive (as well as harmful to the environment).

1 of 4

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 18,030.21 +6.04 0.03%
S&P 500 2,081.88 -0.29 -0.01%
NASDAQ 4,773.4720 +8.0480 0.17%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs