PURE ENERGY—The Dumbest Guys in the Room

How to build a billion dollar company 

with a glass in your hand and your head up your butt

Dingonose Drilling 2B

If Enron were the smartest guys in the room—with their bloated-ego salaries, crooked accountants, Wall Street cronies, and bilked investors—maybe we’d be better off with the anti-Enron guys, who pay themselves peanuts, sell themselves short, wear no socks or ties, and run their business from a bar?

PURE ENERGY is the fictionalised true story of a Coal Seam Gas company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in September 2006 for $0.20 per share, then sold to British Gas in March 2009 for $8.25 per share. In 2.5 years, the company went from a million-dollar personal debt to a billion-dollar public sale, making it the 100th largest market capital on the ASX—larger than the Bank of Queensland. Critics and competitors said PURE’s aggressive ways would be their downfall: they drilled more “cowboy” wells than any other independent in the CSG sector, set “stupid” records in every acreage bidding round, but in the end discovered enough gas to supply an entire LNG plant—and made millionaires of even their smaller shareholders. With PURE’s gas replacing coal for power generation in China, the resulting reduction in greenhouse gas emissions was equivalent to taking all the cars off the road in Canada for three years. All this from a company with one part-time employee, no secretary, and no answering machine.

Who pulled off this improbable romp, and how did they do it? Founded by four nutcase Canucks and one mad Maori, Pure’s secret was simple: do the opposite, and do it hard. Run it down wrong side of the road, and run it from a bar. Think Butch Cassidy going toe to toe with Enron’s Smartest Guys. 

Follow the rollercoaster antics of the five founders as they find a broker, lose a broker, then get taken to the cleaners; as they make a discovery, lose a discovery (‘what do you mean, the gas is gone?’), then re-drill the same well four times over because they named it after a dead friend, only to find nothing but mud; until finally they turn a farmer’s abandoned water-wells into gas-gold and hire the Goldman sharks to orchestrate a bidding war between British Gas and Shell and others, for a cool billion payout.

Share a glass with the Dumbest Guys in the Room. And hold onto your hat.

Read the Full Synopsis of this novel in progress

"… the most dangerous parts of spaceflight are the launch, the landing, and everything in between." – Roberta Bondar, Canadian Astronaut

"Only the stupid need organisation, the genius controls chaos." – Albert Einstein

"Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy shit……what a ride!’" – Hunter S. Thompson

"My name is Inigo Montoya. Prepare to die." – William Goldman

“I did not tell half of what I saw, for I knew I would not be believed." – Marco Polo