Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with long time client & friend, Carl F. Drews, to talk about his experience in the oil and gas industry and even get some valuable advice and insight into the industry.
Carl and I have known each other for over 30 years. We joke about the fact that we have the same birthday so we grew up together in the Oil & Gas business. We (Bradley Broussard Land Services, Inc.) have worked for Carl from his time with Kelley Oil Corporation all the way through his career at Carrizo Oil & Gas, Inc. and Greystone Petroleum, LLC.
Carl served as Vice President of Land of Greystone Petroleum, LLC from March of 2002 until January of 2019. From 1998 to 2002, Mr. Drews was District Landman and then Land Manager with Carrizo Oil & Gas, Inc., and was Land Manager from 1984 to 1998 with Kelley Oil Corporation.
Mr. Drews holds a B.B.A. in Petroleum Land Management from The University of Texas at Austin and is a member of the American Association of Professional Landmen and Houston Association of Professional Landmen.
1) Carl, who are some of the companies or people you’ve worked with that have impacted your career?
I have been blessed to work for some really good companies and with some incredibly talented people. In the early portion of my career I had the opportunity to work with Joe Willis, who was a Landman for many years with The Superior Oil Company. Joe recently retired and is now working as a consultant. His land knowledge was expansive and I will forever be grateful for the time he took to teach and guide me through those early years. I have worked for Kelley Oil Corporation, Carrizo Oil & Gas, Inc. and Greystone Petroleum, LLC and some of the many people that made a huge impact on my career were John Startz, Bob Payne, David Kelley, Joe Bridges, Ken Trahan and Mike Geffert.
2) What areas have you worked in your career as a Landman?
I have worked the Permian Basin, Ark-La-Tex, South Louisiana and Gulf Coast Texas regions.
3) What’s your favorite landowner or Landman story?
We staked a location on a lease in north Louisiana that had been HBP for years where the surface owner and the mineral owner were not the same. As is common with severed minerals, the surface owner was not thrilled with the location. When we moved in to commence location work we found a new grave marker complete with name and date of birth and death located about 10 yards from the staked well location. After contacting the Sheriff’s Department, we scanned the “grave” site and conclusively determined that no one was buried there and we commenced operations. Although unsuccessful, I have to say that it was a unique idea.
4) What’s the best lease buying story in your career as a Landman?
We were buying leases in south Louisiana and Bradley Broussard Land Services was doing our field brokerage work. Brad called me one afternoon and informed me there was a 50 acre tract located just outside our buy outline that was owned by the same party that owned a tract within our buy area, and the owner would like to lease both tracts. Brad asks if we wanted to go ahead and lease the 50 acres and I said go ahead and we acquired the 50 acre lease. As fate would have it, about a year later we drilled a well on that 50 acre tract which was successful and came on at 10,000 mcf/day with 1000 bbls of condensate.
“Remember that what goes around comes around and the day will come when you’re the one that needs something.“
5) What advice would you give someone who is just starting out as an in house Landman?
First, be honest and do what you say you’re going to do as your reputation walks through the door before you do. Second, in addition to learning land operations and land administration, spend time with people in other departments and obtain a working knowledge of what their job entails. By doing so you will see what their responsibilities and how departments fit together and better understand the role that land plays within the organization.
6) What is the most important aspect of your job?
The ability to multi-task, resolve problems, be both big picture and detail oriented, and be an effective communicator.
7) What are some of the biggest challenges for a Landman?
- Deadlines for closings, rig schedules, critical lease dates and company reports are just some of the time sensitive items that require a Landman to manage time and resources to satisfy these deadlines.
- Obtaining quality land and legal personnel for running title, abstracting and rendering title opinions.
8) What is one important item in maintaining good partner and landowner relations?
Promptly responding to their calls or emails and doing what you can to address any problems, needs or questions they may have. Remember that what goes around comes around and the day will come when you’re the one that needs something.
9) Do you think America (and the world) will eventually move towards a majority reliance on clean and/or renewable energy?
Based on current world energy demand, costs, and existing technology, that time seems to be a ways down the road. I would recommend reading the article in the January/February 2020 Landman magazine entitled The “New Energy” Economy: An Exercise in Magical Thinking.
10) What are your predictions for oil and gas prices for the future (6 to 12 months out)?
Oil – $58 -$65 per barrel
Nat Gas – $2.35-$2.45 per MMBTU
11) What are some of the long term and short term goals you have in your career?
My company sold all its producing properties so I am looking forward to another opportunity in the industry.
12) In order, what energy sources do you think will be most utilized (globally) in 20 years?
- Oil & Gas
13) In your opinion, what is the best way to stimulate Oil & Gas exploration in the current economy?
Acceptable rate of return and free cash flow are the main drivers needed to stimulate and maintain oil and gas exploration and development activity in the current climate. In that regard, price volatility is always an issue, but supporting governmental policies that eliminate unnecessary regulations and promote economic growth should increase product demand and hopefully lessen downside volatility. Also, construction of LNG export terminals and additional pipeline construction should cause natural gas prices to firm over time. An ongoing industry risk is either state or federal legislation or regulation, or the threat thereof, that is so anti industry that it makes drilling operations unfeasible or even impossible. It is imperative that such issues continue to be addressed and we remember to exercise our privilege to vote.