Christina Chen, 34
Co-founder, CFO, Carrier Energy Partners LLC, Houston
Christina Chen co-founded Carrier Energy Partners LLC with Mark Clemans in 2013. Together with Carrier Energy Partners II, it has $600 million in equity commitments from Riverstone Holdings LLC. In March 2017, Carrier sold 8,900 net acres producing more than 2,000 net boe/d as part of more than $850 million in divestitures, exiting the Delaware Basin. Current assets include production and leasehold in the Eagle Ford Shale and Midland Basin.
Carrier Petroleum, started in 2009, invested in primarily nonoperated assets on behalf of a Fortune 200 company; its success spurred Chen and Clemans to form Carrier Energy Partners. “We kept the ‘Carrier’ name because we had established ourselves as a nonoperated player, but it’s two different companies with different strategies and investors.”
Career path: She decided to stay in the energy industry, which she was exposed to from 2007 to 2009 after becoming an associate in Goldman Sachs & Co. Inc.’s Houston-based E&P capital division. She previously worked in Goldman’s New York corporate treasury division from 2005 to 2007.
Unexpected journey: Chen’s first internship was in cancer research. “Fifteen years ago, I would have never envisioned myself to be where I am today, but I could not be happier with the paths I chose and the journey I am still on.” She attributes her success in starting an oil and gas company to “being nimble and approaching my career with an open mind, pursuing lesser-known paths, taking calculated risks and embracing opportunities.” Similar to deal opportunities, “the best ones only come around once in a long while.”
Advice for young professionals: “Bring your best every day. You never know who is observing you and taking note, and the most unexpected people may one day play a pivotal role in your career.” Remember: “No one cares more about your career and your development than you. So, don’t be afraid to be your own biggest advocate and to bet on yourself. There’s no better person to bet on.”
Make new friends: For all the networking that goes on in oil and gas, real, cultivated relationships are important. Chen urges young professionals to know people on a personal level: meet for lunch, call them up, send holiday cards—don’t just shake hands and exchange business cards.