Three years ago, a single material was responsible for handing two men the Nobel Prize in physics.
They received the international recognition for research and experiments successfully conducted with the two-dimensional material graphene.
The prestigious title prize came with a check of more than a million dollars... but the monetary compensation for their work grossly underscores the value of this material.
The fact is it's worth billions.
The Billion-Dollar Material
Four months ago, over a billion euros were rewarded to a graphene project by the European Commission.
This carbon-based material can conduct electricity better than copper, yet it's up to 300x stronger than steel. It's been dubbed "the atomic chicken-wire," thanks to its hexagonal makeup.
And despite its strength, one square meter sheet of it weighs less than a milligram.
Don't let its light weight fool you; this material is a quintessential game-changer for technology...
Only one atom thick and highly conductive, graphene may one day replace conventional silicon microchips, making devices smaller, faster, and more energy-efficient.
I want to get into the specifics for a few minutes today, because while nearly every sector in the market will take advantage of the benefits of graphene, one particular example strikes close to home for us...
Empowering Oil Exploration
We've talked a lot in these pages about the fact that the most crucial — and most profitable — breakthroughs taking place in the oil and gas sector are in technology.
Companies aren't shy about the fact that they're willing to go to the most remote places on the planet to secure our future oil supply.
And not only are we exploring extreme regions like the Arctic to find crude; we're also digging deeper than ever before.
I'm sure you heard of the famous Drake well in Titusville, Pennsylvania, at one point or another in grade school. Colonel Drake drilled his oil well at a rate of only three feet per day, reaching a total depth of almost 70 feet.
It's incredible to see how far we've come in the 150 years since that historic well...
Nine months ago Exxon set a new record for the deepest oil well. At a total depth of over 12,000 meters, the only way to give this feat justice is to show you (click the image at right).
Trust me, this isn't an anomaly...
Offshore companies drilling in ultra-deep waters are becoming increasingly attractive.
But remember that drilling offshore is incredibly expensive. The day rate for these rigs can easily exceed half a million dollars, and a single well can cost upwards of $100 million.
It should go without saying these companies can't afford to hit a dry well.
That's exactly what happened to Repsol when they drilled in Cuban waters last year, forcing the company to plug and abandon the well. I'd like to think Repsol would have avoided their $175 million mistake, if they could have...
Which is precisely where graphene comes into play.
The technology now exists for a company to utilize small, graphene-coated sensors to explore potential oil targets. Once the sensors are injected into the rock, they can move through natural fractures and help determine whether or not oil and natural gas are present.
This is just one of the incredibly effective and profitable uses that come from utilizing graphene in oil fields.
I have to tell you... of all of the promising possibilities this material holds, my colleague Nick Hodge has the details on the most lucrative ones.
You see, Nick's been on top of this situation since it started gaining traction. He's been following the developments of the advanced technologies that use graphene and the material's varied uses in everything from defense to biotechnology to energy.
Now Nick's readers stand to make a fortune as China begins to crack down on graphite supply. Because the price of this material can only go up as China attempts to control the market for this “miracle material.”
Until next time,
A true insider in the energy markets, Keith is one of few financial reporters to have visited the Alberta oil sands. His research has helped thousands of investors capitalize from the rapidly changing face of energy. Keith connects with hundreds of thousands of readers as the Managing Editor of Energy & Capital as well as Investment Director of Angel Publishing's Energy Investor. For years, Keith has been providing in-depth coverage of the Bakken, the Haynesville Shale, and the Marcellus natural gas formations — all ahead of the mainstream media. For more on Keith, go to his editor's page.