By Younas Chaudhary
If you ask whether I would work anywhere other than the oil business, I will say no. Every day is a thrilling day for me and my team to search for something unknown, something that is elusive, and goes beyond all human calculations and predictions.
Every time I drill a well or recomplete a well, I enter unknown territory. I wait with bated breath to hear the exciting good news of a new well coming online with oil and gas gushing out of it. This agonizing wait has been part of my life for the last 40 years. And not once have I thought I should leave this industry, even after oil prices went to $8 in the mid-1980’s or fell to negative prices.
Risks and rewards do not wait in this industry. They come quickly and if you work hard with consistency, with good timing and with a bit of luck, you will love this business. A good oil well can pay off its investment in a short time and what flows afterwards is profits that you cannot get from any other business. This reminded me of a quote by John D. Rockefeller, “the secret of success is to get up early, work late and strike oil.”
The oil business is a gamble. But once you get the thrill of it, you will not want to leave it. Each successful well creates positive energy inside you and your team. It is a feeling that I cannot explain in words. You take calculated risks in this business hoping for the best outcome. With the current technology and new data, we are locating untapped formations, drilling new wells, and completing them in much shorter time cycles.
Despite all the data and the modern technology, we regularly lose our investments. For example, recently, after investing sizeable amounts of time and money drilling a well, we got stuck at the end. After several failed attempts we had to abandon the well and move off the location suffering huge losses. Every dollar invested was gone.
This is an industry where you must have guts, foresight, ability to take risks and positive thinking! The oil industry has taught me patience and common sense. When common sense tells you to stop, you must retreat because you will be quickly sinking a lot of money into a total loss.
I regularly partner with several other oil companies in drilling new oil and gas wells as this spreads my risk and gives me the benefit of our partners’ operational expertise in specific areas. I also drill new wells on our 100% owned leases. With the current product prices, the return on investment on the good new wells is high and payout is quick.
In the 1980’s and 1990’s, I had a lot of success purchasing old, low producing wells from major operators, and wells that were left abandoned by their former owners. In one case, we recompleted an old shut-in well into a new zone whereby this zone started flowing 1,200 barrels of oil per day.
My decision to hold on to old oil and gas leases and wells without falling for the frequent offers to sell such leases has proven to help me immensely. I feel that I have had the foresight and the patience to keep them for my next generation so that they could benefit from my positive actions one day. Blessings!
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions.