Trillion Energy

Trillion was a promising gas exploration play with a known, large resource offshore in Turkey. The company also had a trickle of cash flow from a small onshore oilfield, which didn't hurt. The known (historic, but likely to be there) gas field came with potentially huge upside from a theory about a bigger, deeper target.

After long delays, management raised a lot more money than required by their stated plans, drilled and placed half a dozen wells with positive metrics into production, and still managed to lose money. I didn't sell right away, because Turkey borders Europe, and there's a good chance Europe won't get so lucky with another warm winter ahead. EU demand did boost gas prices in Turkey before and could easily do so with gusto this winter.

But now management wants to earn into an onshore oil project that will cost a lot of money the company doesn't have—on a gamble that's an "if, not when" question—while still losing money from existing operations. Even if one believed in the merit of this new plan, there will be massive dilution for existing shareholders on the way. (No wonder the stock has tanked, even as energy prices have soared due to the new war in the Middle East.) So, after giving clients the usual head start, I sold and took my lumps.

As I recall, I was up about 80% on this speculation at one point, so I don't feel too bad about having bet on the story. I do wish I'd taken profits, however. And I will remember the management team that snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.