Lessons from my first oil lease

By Younas Chaudhary

Do you remember the day you made your first leap? The first time you thought, yes, I can do this!

My first leap came in 1980 when I purchased an oil lease close to the town of Humboldt, Kansas. I was a young immigrant from Pakistan with lots of curiosity and a willingness to work hard. But I had no knowledge or any experience in the oil and gas industry. Yet, I was eager to learn new things, understand different concepts and had the urge to make money.

My first lease was located off a black top road on the corner of a street close to Humboldt. The property had several shut-in abandoned oil wells, a gun barrel, two 100 barrel oil tanks and one 100 barrel water tank. It was surrounded by huge shrubs and overgrown grass as the previous lease owner had abandoned the field but left most of the equipment. I had no clue what I was getting into, so I hired Brian, a local young man with oilfield experience to help me figure out what lay ahead.

I was excited. This lease was like a new member who had joined my family. I was anxious as I was trying out something new with unpredictable results. I hired a local pumper, fixed flowlines, cut weeds and the overgrown grass and turned on the power. I also pulled wells and restored the least dilapidated oil wells.

Every day, for seven days a week, I would spend very long hours at this lease site fixing the equipment and learning from my experienced oilfield co-workers. I was very interested and eager to learn and understand the oilfield work process and to find out ways to do this new line of exciting work in a cost-effective manner.

Three months went by fast and I was ready to turn on the oil wells for the first time. With bated breath, I kept my ear close to the gun barrel and stock tanks and intensely listened to the noise of pressure as the black gold started to slowly flow in from the pumping wells. I had got the oil wells fixed and they were online! My heart raced…. the oil, gas and water gushed from the oil wells to the tank battery with good pressure.

And, suddenly, the magical “whoosh” came. I screamed with excitement. My first day got me five barrels of oil but it felt like a million barrels!

Today, I own and operate numerous oil and gas wells across North America. But it all started with just one, my first leap.

The biggest lesson I learned that day was that anything is possible with hard work, consistent effort and some good luck. What was your first big leap and what did you learn? Or, haven’t you made one? What is stopping you?

Find out more about me in my best -selling book “From dirt roads to black gold.” Note that 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of this book will help people in need through my foundation, the YBC Foundation.

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