From College Student to Starting an Oil Company: A Journey from Nothing to Success in the Modern Oil Field?
Presented by Casey Mitchell at the March Luncheon Meeting of the Permian Basin Section-SEPM
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
After spending years trying to figure out what direction my career path would take, a desire to solve complex problems and puzzles led me to West Texas. Bringing the drive of a construction powerhouse, and venturing from Texas Tech to the far mountains of Big Bend’s Sul Ross, I built a following by attending conferences, building up the Geology Club, and publishing research, all in the hope to attract employers. All was well, interest was garnered by several majors and supermajors! Everything was great…..then 2014 happened. All hope of getting my feet on the ground and running came to a screeching halt.
I trudged forward, bouncing around with a micro independent with serious financial problems, completing a thesis, and working as a wellsite geologist for Suttles Logging, Inc. Things were fairly stagnant and a little boring. I reluctantly decided to form an entity, with zero real plans for it. Fast forward six months: I was signing the transfer paperwork on my first “producing” (it did at one point) oil lease. I had almost zero funding, but did have a little ingenuity and elbow grease. Thus began a strange and unexpected journey. I began learning the production side of the industry, along with some engineering. Couple that with sabotage, interesting characters, epic failure, and moderate success, and you get an experience one can only have in the world of small oil. The hope to expand had wormed to the forefront of my mind. I was always searching the orphan well list, the oil well classifieds (they exist), and digging through deeds and old lease records for the next project. Enter the Covid disaster, with the worst drop in oil prices in all of history, arriving the day before my second load of oil was set to be hauled. Companies everywhere were bleeding cash left and right, and letting go of leases like hot potatoes immersed in magma. A pair of leases for an awfully low price popped up on the radar: begin Round Two! Pulling records, well logs, asking questions, searching for funding, etc. brought about the unimaginable: Potential Success unthought of, even just a month before. Due to the nature of this acquisition, most of the information about my new Permian Basin assets cannot be released just yet, but I will say one thing: ALWAYS run a GR-N-CCL before perforating your wells. You cannot afford to miss any of your stacked pay zones! So far, this has been quite a ride. I hope my story can inspire those who have been brought down by current events, or perhaps even cheer you up with stories of some of the craziness that comes with starting your own oil company with almost zero money.