By Younas Chaudhary
For the last four decades, I’ve been on a roller coaster ride in the oil and gas industry. Every day has been a thrill, but some magic moments really stand out.
The first gush of oil
I purchased my first oil lease, the Calvin lease near Humboldt, Kansas, in 1981 from a landowner who feared that old equipment with shut-in wells left by a previous oil company would lessen the value of his land. He leased his land and assigned all the wells and equipment to me. I cleared the area, hired roustabout crew and started working on the wells, repairing flowlines, and connecting the lines. There was no money coming in, and I was borrowing funds from friends and acquaintances to get this lease up and running.
I worked long hours in the field, lending a hand by doing manual labor with the roustabouts and pumpers until the wells came online. Those days, the oil business was simple, there were no harsh regulations and far less bureaucracy.
After I put my first oil well online, I vividly remember the first gush of oil flowing out on a nice afternoon and I was instantly bitten by the smell of sweet crude. I heard the sound, and watched fluid slowly emerge from the gun barrel and oil flow into the stock tank. It was a happy, rewarding moment even though the initial production was just around 5 barrels! We celebrated our success as if a million barrels had just flowed out!
Buying out oil investors
In 1982, armed with some tiny bank loans I moved to Wichita, Kansas. Here, a few wealthy professionals, mostly doctors and businessmen wanted to invest with me in oil and gas wells. The deal was that they would take 90 percent of the profits and I would get the remaining 10 percent for operating the oil wells. We purchased oil and gas wells in different states and things were going really well until 1985 when oil prices fell dramatically. The investors were mad. They started blaming me and threatened to take me to court. To help me resolve the matter, the bank financing these wells took a risk. We reached an agreement whereby I would own all the wells. The investors sold all their interests to me, and I agreed to pay the investors’ loan amounts to the bank along with all their past due interest. Luckily, oil prices climbed a few months later and I was fortunate enough to own all the wells. This deal gave me confidence and led to the growth of my business.
Hedging the volatility of oil into real-estate
By the late nineties, I knew that the feast or famine cycle of oil and gas could hurt my long-term stable financial goals. I started buying real estate in the US and Canada including land, rental homes, and commercial properties. This paid out well and has served as a hedge against the volatility of oil and gas prices.
So many magic moments like these define our careers. Timely, good decisions with consistency can yield big rewards. Stay Blessed!
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.