Tiny Driller Skyrockets 959% After Reddit Craze Spreads to Oil

(Bloomberg) -- An obscure company that employs five people and appears to produce negligible amounts of oil and natural gas from some wells in Appalachia became the latest Reddit-fueled day-trading craze, soaring nearly 1,000% to become a $128 million company in a matter of hours.

New Concept Energy Inc. got a mention by retail traders on the WallStreetBets forum on Reddit on a day when brokerages including Robinhood Markets clamped down on trading in shares such as GameStop Corp. after some of the wildest stock swings the markets have seen in recent years.

For a company that produces a mere 70 barrels of oil equivalent a day and has a board whose average age is 74, that was still enough to send its shares up by a whopping 959% to $25, the highest since 2000.

Short interest in New Concept Energy has fallen to 0.3% of its float from 13% earlier this month, according to data from S3 Partners.

The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for a comment on Thursday’s meteroric stock performance.

At the end of 2019, New Concept Energy had 153 producing gas wells and 44 non-producing wells, with mineral leases across 20,000 acres, according to regulatory filings.

The company lost 46 cents a share on revenue of $590,000 in 2019, according to its annual report.