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Friday, October 16, 2015

Success During a Downturn: Interview with Steven Tedesco, Running Foxes Petroleum. Innovators & Entrepreneurs Series

Achieving success during downturns is a function of vision and leadership, and it requires a person to think creatively and independently. These are just a few of the insights provided by Dr. Steven Tedesco, Running Foxes Petroleum, in the two interviews presented here -- written, and also via YouTube. Welcome to an informative interview with a successful entrepreneur who has used science, technology, strategic thinking, and pro-active environmental responsibility to innovate and create a dynamic, thriving company.

1.    What is your company and its primary focus?
Running Foxes Petroleum Inc.  Our focus is shallow conventional oil and gas, waterflooding, coal bed methane and shale gas.  We focus in Eastern Kansas, Western Missouri, Southeast Colorado and in eastern central Utah.  Our goal is to target reservoirs that are simple in nature and do not require complex fracking and drilling.  Geologic risk is minimal.  The real risk is proper execution which is easier to control.

Dr. Steven Tedesco
2.    What is your background?
Geologist by training with three degrees.  BS from Northeastern University, Masters from Southern Illinois University and PhD from Colorado School of Mines.  33 years’ experience in the oil and gas business with over 2 years of experience in nuclear, mining and geotech.  I have also become very will versed doing petroleum engineering, land, marketing and contract negotiations.

3.    What are some of the lessons / insights from hard rock geology that apply to petroleum geology?
The use of technologies, such as surface geochemistry and aeromagnetics, that can be successfully applied to oil and gas.  The earth is a dynamic process and both metals and petroleum accumulations have very similar characteristics to each other.  Therefore all technologies work to some degree on an type of deposits.

4.  How would you characterize a successful entrepreneur?

 Interview with Dr. Tedesco on LifeEdge, October 15, 2015.

A successful entrepreneur has to have vision.  Seeing opportunities where others see nothing.  For example distressed gas assets can be acquired very inexpensively.  Most of the industry does not like gas.  But as history shows both oil and gas products go through cycle.  By buying gas assets now, improving them either with working over or drilling new wells at lower costs will only benefit the value of the assets when prices go higher and costs to rework and drill new wells will also rise.

5.    What are some of the opportunities that an entrepreneur would identify during a downturn?
Looking for distressed properties.  In a downturn multiple companies and individuals get over extended and this presents opportunities to acquire assets at minimal cost.  Many of these assets will be like diamonds in the rough.  With a little work their value can be greatly improved.  The difficulty is to finance these opportunities.  It requires companies to take a contrarian attitude despite the overall thought of low prices for a perceived extended period of time.  History shows those that identify the bottom of any cycle enter and exit the next boom very successfully.  Also the entrepreneur has to be committed to the vision.  People tend to follow in herds in industry.  The visionary needs to ignore to some extent the people around him or her who attempt to dissuade them from pursuing the vision.  The vision and opportunity does need to be well thought out from all angles such as geology, engineering, operations, land, regulations, costs, IRR, etc.  

6.    Do you have any books / key thinkers that you would recommend?
I believe we can learn a lot from past leaders.  I read books on George Washington, Robert E. Lee, George Mitchell, Lord Thomas Cochrane, Patton, Kennedy, General Rosecrans, Woodrow Wilson, Ho Chi Min, Churchill, Reagan, to name a few.  These are leaders despite some eventually being on the wrong side exude commitment, resolve and leadership in both good and bad times consistently.

Note:  Steve Tedesco will be presenting a paper at AAPG's Revitalizing Reservoirs Geosciences Technology Workshop in San Antonio, December 1-2. 

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