What really matters in the oil business.

By Younas Chaudhary

I’ve been in the oil business for over 40 years. So, I don’t bother to look at daily oil prices because it is out of my control and a waste of time. What does keep me up at night is the health and safety of our team of drilling and operational crews.  They are the courageous men and women who work 24/7 in harsh conditions risking their health and safety to drill new wells.

Younas Chaudhary

Over the last few decades, I have seen it all including things that have turned into disasters. Everyone says that they plan for the worst and hope for the best, but I know better. Most expect the best and never think about the risk, especially the risk to their people. Over the years, I’ve lost a lot of money on well blowouts and other big problems. Luckily, everyone went home to their families. But, on every new well and every big job, the safety of my team keeps me up at night. Thankfully, I’ve been lucky and the safety measures we’ve put in place have worked.

Arriving in the West in the 1970’s with $30 in my pocket, earning more has been a blessing. I see people in this industry constantly watching oil prices and operating out of fear without understanding the price disruptions caused in the Middle East, or from a war in any part of the world, or the changing weather patterns in Europe can turn your day upside down.

You cannot predict oil prices as they are dictated by the world’s various geopolitical happenings. But we can consistently monitor our soft and hard costs and control them. You can figure out the baseline oil price that can keep you in survival mode while oil prices are lower.

In this feast or famine energy business, like hunters, we keep a constant eye on a moving target. When drilling a new well, my team pre-plans with data-driven decisions. Our engineering team pays close attention and uses state of the art downhole tools during drilling to stay within a sweet spot of the pay zone, and to case, cement and to frac it with future operations in mind.

My team focuses on expenses and cost controls but never forgets about safety. I should admit our team has an advantage as they are not answerable to multiple bosses or a board of directors, it’s only me. Therefore, my engineering team does not have to seek permission from multiple bosses during drilling, completion, or other day to day operations. Our engineering team makes conscientious decisions and if things go well, I congratulate them and if they do not, I take responsibility instead of blaming others.

I do not pay attention to daily oil prices. Over time, I have learned that keeping a level head is what matters more than counting jellies in a bean jar. I am rarely exuberant when seeing lots of barrels of oil flowing from a well and do not get depressed when oil prices hit rock bottom or when I lose a well.

I think about those shriveled 30 dollars I had in my pocket when I first landed in Canada, hoping to make it in the West. I have made it over and over. Remembering the past has protected me from the volatility of oil prices! 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.

Here are ways to connect with me