On July 1, without fanfare, EOG Resources (NYSE: EOG) made its planned switch at the CEO position.

Longtime leader Mark Papa slid into the seat of executive chairman of the board and William R. Thomas took the helm as chief executive. The move had been planned since at least September 2011, when Papa announced he would continue his day-to-day role as CEO and gradually turn over responsibilities to Thomas. Papa served as EOG’s chairman of the board and CEO for more than 13 years. Papa’s tenure at the company began in 1981, when he joined Belco Petroleum Corp. , a predecessor of EOG.

Papa hasn’t gone anywhere, EOG says. He’s still the board chair, the principal executive officer and an employee. Thomas takes over the reins of one of the largest U.S. independents.

“I am very comfortable transitioning my leadership role to Bill and our very experienced, long-tenured and exceptionally talented team,” Papa said.

EOG’s future appears to be on sure footing as it produces more and its completions incorporate a “secret sauce” that has shown up in improved IP rates and well metrics, said David Tameron , Wells Fargo senior analyst.

Tameron said in May the company was firing on all cylinders while building “an engine that keeps growing.”

Hsulin Peng , senior analyst covering E&Ps for Baird Equity Research , said in an earnings preview that investors across the board are likely expecting another solid quarter from the company, including continued strong results out of the Eagle Ford and the Delaware Basin’s Leonard shale and Wolfcamp.

Second-quarter results could be interesting, Peng said. “As per other operators EOG has been testing massive wells (three-mile laterals, 7 million to 9 million pounds of sand proppant, 60 stages) in its (Bakken) Parshall Field with very solid results to date. Also in the Bakken, we could see more second bench well results and an update on downspacing efforts in the Parshall and South Antelope areas.”

EOG plans to complete 53 net wells in the Bakken. Its drilling in Parshall Field has produced at least 2.7 million barrels of oil from January to May, according to North Dakota Industrial Commission data.

EOG Parshall field oil production


Oil production













Source: North Dakota Industrial Commission

Peng’s target price for EOG is $163.

“We value EOG’s proved reserves to be worth