Honorees
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Kevin M. Riley, 34

EVP, Business Development, Riley Exploration Group LLC, Blanchard, Okla.

Started out in the field, servicing wells with the roustabout crew. Is fourth generation to work in the industry; the first two generations were on the service side. His father, Bobby Riley, switched to E&P. Earned MBA from OU’s energy-focused program. Currently oversees Arkoma and Permian Basin assets. Company strives to be a leader in “disruptive thinking.”

Operations focus:
Arkoma Basin, Eagle Ford Shale, Taylor Sand and Permian Basin.

Memorable deal: Most recently involved with the Permian Basin asset. “It was challenging to make the acquisition work for the parties involved, but, in the end, we have an operated interest in a large, contiguous, acreage block that lends itself to success in terms of scale. It’s a synergy we will build upon, having acreage closely held in a good spot that is already high-graded.”

East Texas challenge: In the East Texas Eagle Ford, the challenge is complex mineral rights. “Operators have been producing from the Austin Chalk since the ’70s. It required understanding what was available and putting together 100 and 200 acres at a time, farming out piece by piece into a completed puzzle, versus going in and acquiring the mineral rights on 5,000- or 10,000-acre ranches.”

South Texas approach: In South Texas, company did well at “proving our existence in our previous Eagle Ford venture and that we’re capable of acquiring acreage and developing it with success. We took a conservatively aggressive view. We don’t try to push too hard all the time; we try to make a good well every time versus having failures and the risks associated with those failures.”

Active Permian development: In the Permian Basin, very little of the acreage is HBP at this point “but we are actively developing the asset. The Arkoma Basin assets are HBP. Improved results with the combination of reduced drilling and completion costs make this basin attractive from a development standpoint and for recompletion opportunities. We’re currently preparing to take advantage of that.”

Plans for the Chalk: In the Austin Chalk, about 90% of the Taylor Sand asset is HBP from the previous, vertical wells. Intent is to drill horizontal wells to capture the oil that’s been left behind. In the newer, Eagle Ford position, “we have 20,000 net acres, mostly contiguous, of which about 800 are HBP, but we are working to begin drilling efforts there this fall [2015].”

Guiding his career: Has worked alongside “some great mentors, some of whom have been family, and I have been fortunate enough to have had exposure to all aspects of the business. At Riley, we strive to be leaders in disruptive thinking, with the potential of unlocking a leading edge on our peer group.” Today, Riley’s father is CEO; his brother, Corey, is CFO.

Distruptive thinking: “Looking at unconventionals and how to better develop these assets, while also revisiting conventional basins where oil has already been found and developing those assets in an unconventional manner. It’s the technology and the way you utilize it that gives you a competitive advantage, makes you an early entrant to an area or maybe enables you to lower your drilling, completion and production costs.”

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With appreciation to Grant Thornton for their support