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Misleading Chart of the Month



October 14, 2010 – Comments (15)

Check out this presentation by Angle Energy (TSX: NGL), a Canadian E&P. Please flip to slide 3.

As you probably know, natural gas is in the gutter today, while oil prices are strong. Natural gas liquids and condensate, which are more closely linked to oil prices than gas prices, are the only saving grace for natural gas plays these days. It's no surprise, then, that Angle chooses to brand itself as a "Liquids-Rich Mid-Cap Value."

Now look at the chart. For the company's projected exit rate for 2010, we've got production of 1,500 bbl/d of oil, 3,500 bbl/d of NGL & condensates, and 51 mmcf/d of gas. That adds up to 13,500 boe/d, as seen at the top. So far, so good.

But wait. Look at the size of the green section and the blue (blurple?) section compared to the red section, at the right-hand side of the chart (Dec 2010). Combined, they're a lot bigger than the red section. This visually suggests that the company is over 50% liquids by production volume.

The problem, of course, is that 1,500 + 3,500 is only 5,000 bpd of liquids, or 37% of exit production. 51 mmcf/d equals 8,500 boe/d (the conversion is simple: 51,000 mcf divided by 6, given the approximate 6:1 energy equivalency). There's your other 63% of production.

Now how did this chart get so deceptive? Look at the bottom left corner. There's a little zigzag, indicating that the chart has compressed everything from 0 bbl/d to 6,000 bbl/d into the same scale afforded to 1,000 bbl/d increments at points above 6,000 bbl/d. In this way, 5,000 boe/d of gas production is hidden from the eye. 

This has all the looks of a company desperate to characterize itself as something it is not: a "Liquids-Rich Mid-Cap Value."


15 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On October 14, 2010 at 5:44 PM, cmfhousel (93.52) wrote:

Awesome catch, Toby. 

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#2) On October 14, 2010 at 11:58 PM, walt373 (99.88) wrote:

LMAO. Watch out for the squiggly, it's sneaky. Second grade math ftw. Good eye.

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#3) On October 15, 2010 at 10:15 AM, PaxtorReborn (28.86) wrote:

Uploaded with

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#4) On October 15, 2010 at 10:32 AM, XMFSmashy (99.62) wrote:


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#5) On October 15, 2010 at 10:39 PM, calgary12 (< 20) wrote:

Great eye.  You can apparently do math too.  Which is what the average investor will be able to do as well.  Not too tough to figure out, hey?

If you'd bothered to look at peers that also produce nat gas you'd notice that the NGL contents here are higher than normal.  It is very liquids rich gas.

 We didn't appreciate your extremely negative note showing up on our company and always appreciate those who care to do their homework fully.




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#6) On October 16, 2010 at 12:44 AM, walt373 (99.88) wrote:

How was this note "extremely negative"? He merely pointed out that the graph was misleading, which everyone seems to agree with. Regardless of whether the average investor would have caught that - which I'm sure some did not - the graph was clearly drawn to be deceptive in showing the NGL out of proportion. After all, what's the point of a graph but to show proportion? You did it to yourself and defending it instead of apologizing just makes you look worse.

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#7) On October 16, 2010 at 1:10 AM, XMFSmashy (99.62) wrote:


So you're saying the average investor will easily detect your ruse. If you really believe that, then why go to the trouble? (As co-founder, President and COO, I assume you signed off on this). Did you run out of space on the slide? I don't think you did.

You shrank down the same chart on slide 33 -- your summary slide telling me to "Invest in Angle" (Does your organization believe in the power of hypnotic suggestion or what? Slide 31: "Not a gas company") -- and used the squiggle again. This "liquids-rich" chart is clearly an image that you want investors to have in their mind when they think of Angle.

Now how do you expect a person of average intellect, such as myself, to feel when I see that you are visually misrepresenting your production profile to prospective investors right there in your introductory slide? I feel quite put off. I'm also unimpressed with your sarcastic response, which I wouldn't expect from the President of a $500+ million company.

There are dozens upon dozens of liquids-rich, gas-weighted North American E&Ps out there, so there will be no full homework done here. I cross your company off my list and move on. 


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#8) On October 16, 2010 at 1:14 AM, calgary12 (< 20) wrote:

It is not a ruse on the graph, the scale is just done to illustrate growth in oil and NGLs.  Why the volumes are featured prominently as numbers.  Our financials are always good to take a look at too. 

Your final comment was what I had trouble with,

"This has all the looks of a company desperate to characterize itself as something it is not: a "Liquids-Rich Mid-Cap Value."

Our documents are meant to highlight company strengths and not to mislead investors. 

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#9) On October 16, 2010 at 12:18 PM, PaxtorReborn (28.86) wrote:

Welcome to CAPS, calgary12! 

"Highlight strengths" and errrrr, downplay weaknesses with the oldest trick in the book.

Look, the Times sells twice the papers that the Guardian does!

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#10) On October 16, 2010 at 12:22 PM, PaxtorReborn (28.86) wrote:

errr, i meant to say Telegraph

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#11) On October 16, 2010 at 4:32 PM, walt373 (99.88) wrote:

LOL That's the COO?! This is good hahaha...

It is not a ruse on the graph, the scale is just done to illustrate growth in oil and NGLs.

I ask you again, how can you properly illustrate the growth of something without showing it in proportion? You might as well put the squiggly at the 9000 marker - 300% growth!!! The graph is clearly deceptive whether you intended it to be or not. Either you are trying to deceive investors or just really bad at making graphs, take your pick.

Why the volumes are featured prominently as numbers.

Come on. They aren't even in the same units. bbl/d vs. mmcf/d. Don't tell me you put the numbers in different units because you wanted to help investors by giving them a math problem in conversion. "We hope the investors are smart enough to not fall for our tricks." LMAO. What a joke.

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#12) On October 19, 2010 at 10:29 PM, mineralogista (< 20) wrote:

The primary purpose of the graph is to demonstrate the exit rate.  It is a very important aspect you should look at when investing in an E&P.  I don't know what you take from the graph, but they are saying they are going to grow the production by 28% in half a year, which is phenominal.  With substantial amounts of liquids and NGL's.

 Even an average investor understands that you look at many aspects of a company other than just one graph in a presentation.  What about the management team? What about the track record of the management team?  What about some of the plays they are drilling, and adding P+P reserves.  What about the PUD's they are proving up to add to the development inventory.

 Angle has a very respectable management team with a substantial record.  They are also drilling some excellent plays.  

 Bottom line.  There is much more evaluation involved in investing in a company than just being a graph reader.  Do some real research or you will miss out.

My top picks for E&P in Western Canada:


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#13) On October 20, 2010 at 12:27 PM, mineralogista (< 20) wrote:

Don't let one little chart blind you from seeing a real performer.  Do your homework.

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#14) On October 20, 2010 at 12:30 PM, mineralogista (< 20) wrote:

Huge volume this morning after the release.

Increased reserves=increased bank line=increased financing=increase stock price and support.

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#15) On December 18, 2013 at 8:09 PM, XMFSmashy (99.62) wrote:

Angle Energy was sold a while back, producing a loss for anyone buying the stock around the time of this "squiggle disagreement" I had with its COO. She made out nicely, though.

OK, back to my cave.

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