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

Nick Varel, 39

President, CEO, Wing Resources LLC, Dallas

He founded two highly successful companies before age 40. Yet, Nick Varel says he still feels like he’s not doing enough.

“I feel like there’s so much more to do,” he says. “I’m one of these guys that will never stop. I enjoy the industry and the people way too much. I wake up every day looking forward to it.”

When he was 25, Varel co-founded Elephant Oil & Gas to pursue opportunities in the Fayetteville Shale.

Throughout the next six years, the company expanded into the Midland and Delaware basins. Its significant returns for partners and stakeholders ultimately led to its sale to Talon Oil and Gas II in 2012.

In 2016, Varel founded Wing Resources LLC, a Permian Basin-focused mineral and royalty acquisition company. Its assets cover more than 200,000 gross acres, interest in more than 1,000 horizontal wells and more than 6,000 total wells throughout the Midland and Delaware basins in West Texas and New Mexico.

“We grew it organically one track at a time and one acquisition at a time,” Varel says. “We timed the market right by purchasing large amounts of Tier-One minerals in the Permian Basin in 2016 and 2017. As a result, we have experienced massive well growth.”

A lofty task: Wing Resources was an instant success, and Varel says he initially struggled to keep pace with rapid growth management. “Building the internal mechanisms from scratch to manage interest in more than 6,000 wells and more than 100,000 gross barrels of oil equivalent per day in the Permian was a big challenge,” he says. “Hiring the right people and the team collectively working overtime met the challenge.”

On lessons learned: “Good oil and gas assets have a narrative,” says Varel. “When buying assets, they need to fit within with the macro story of the industry at that time.”

Advice for young professionals: “Keep learning,” Varel says. “The great thing about this industry is someone can learn something new every day.”

Photography by
Evin Thayer Studios