Presented by Grant Thornton, Preng & Associates and Nasdaq. Photography by Evin Thayer Studios.

Chris D. Heinson, 35

Senior Vice President and COO, Sanchez Energy Corp., Houston

Under Chris Heinson’s leadership, “since 2014, Sanchez never stopped drilling and never laid off a single employee.”

Navigation: Heinson guided Sanchez Energy through the worst of the downturn by implementing a rigorous schedule. Heinson said that at the time, “I had been COO for under a year in November of 2014 when oil crashed and still felt like I was learning the job. All of a sudden, I found the company looking to me for guidance. … After a sleepless week I decided to call the organization together and have a frank discussion about the seriousness of the situation.

“I plainly stated the facts as I saw them: unconventional development was too expensive to thrive at these oil prices. I then presented the team with a single chart showing the well cost needed to break even at various oil prices. The whole organization was asked to decide to either work as a group to drive down costs per well, or be prepared to shut down capital spending and prepare for an extended period of cost-cutting.

“In the following 40 days, the team all canceled their holiday plans and vacations and worked every single day. … By January 2015, we had reduced well costs from $7 million per well to $4.3 million. Over the next two years … the team carried the initiative forward and was able to achieve well costs as low as $2.8 million per well.”

Career path: Heinson began his career as a reservoir engineer at Occidental Petroleum Corp.; he held that role from May 2007 to May 2011 before working as a development planning engineer from May 2011 to March 2013. From March 2013 to December 2013, he was senior manager of reservoir engineering at Sanchez Oil & Gas Corp., before taking on his current role.

Audio Interview

Photography by
Evin Thayer Studios