President-elect Donald Trump has already begun the process of putting together his cabinet with the announcements of Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon as chief of staff and senior advisor, respectively. With rumors swirling around the remaining cabinet positions, the choice for who should head the Department of Energy has come to the forefront among the energy industry.
Early rumblings suggest that Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm has made the short list of those currently under consideration for Secretary of Energy. Given the incredible growth and massive future potential for shale drilling and production, it is unsurprising that Trump would look to an expert in the area such as Mr. Hamm.
Continental Resources has taken a prominent role in the Bakken formation. Various other energy companies have taken the lead in the shale plays outside the Appalachian Basin: Haynesville (Chesapeake Energy), Eagle Ford (EOG Resources), Niobrara (Anadarko Petroleum), Permian (Chevron and Occidental Petroleum), Fayetteville (Southwestern Energy), Barnett (Devon Energy), and Woodford (Newfield Exploration).
While Mr. Hamm would make an excellent choice, it’s worth noting the impact that the Appalachian shale had in delivering the presidency to Trump. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy recently released a report exploring the incredible impact of America’s energy renaissance on regions like the Appalachian Basin. The report found that Pennsylvania and Ohio alone have added $22.9 billion to their GDPs because of the energy boom. In addition, those two states have combined to create 232,400 jobs that would not otherwise have been created without the energy renaissance. As The Christian Science Monitor’s Zack Colman noted, “Trump frames energy issues . . . through the lens of the jobs he argues can be harvested from fossil fuels.” It would be logical then for the president-elect to look to the leaders of the most active drillers in the Appalachian Basin to fill the position of Energy Secretary.
A review of the most recent rig count reveals that Gulfport Energy, Rice Energy, and Consol Energy are leading the way in current drilling activity within the Utica shale formation, while Southwestern Energy, Range Resources, Antero Resources, EQT, and Cabot Oil & Gas are most active in the Marcellus. Here is a brief look at the leaders of those organizations by active rig count in each formation:
Gulfport Energy – Michael G. Moore
Mr. Moore was appointed CEO of Gulfport Energy in April 2014, after having served as the company’s president since August 2013. He has held various senior positions with Gulfport since July 2000. Mr. Moore has worked in the oil and gas industry for more than 20 years.
Rice Energy – Daniel J. Rice
Mr. Rice has served as CEO of Rice Energy since October 2013, after having served in a number of positions with Rice Energy since October 2008. Prior to joining Rice Energy, he served as an investment banker with Tudor Pickering Holt & Co., LLC, an integrated energy investment bank in Houston, Texas.
Consol Energy – Nicholas J. DeIuliis
Mr. DeIuliis was named CEO of Consol Energy in May 2014, after having served as president since February 2011. He began his career in Consol Energy’s research and development group in 1990 and served as CEO of CNX Gas between 2005 and 2009, during the period that CNX Gas was a separate public company.
Southwestern Energy – William J. Way
Mr. Way was named CEO of Southwestern Energy in January 2016, after having served as President and COO of the company since December 2014. He joined Southwestern Energy in October 2011. Mr. Way has worked in the oil and gas industry for 35 years.
Range Resources – Jeffrey L. Ventura
Mr. Ventura was named president of Range Resources in May 2008, CEO in January 2012 and chairman of the board in January 2015. He joined Range Resources as COO in 2003 after having served as president and COO of Matador Petroleum Corporation, which he joined in 1997. He has more than 25 years of experience in the oil and gas industry.
Antero Resources – Paul M. Rady
Mr. Rady has served as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors for Antero Resources since May 2004, and their predecessor company, Antero Resources Corporation, from 2002 to its sale to XTO Energy, Inc. in April 2005. He served as President, CEO and Chairman of Pennaco Energy for three years prior to joining Antero Resources Corporation. Mr. Rady began his career in the oil and gas industry as a geologist more than 35 years ago.
EQT – David L. Porges
Mr. Porges was elected President and CEO of EQT Corporation in 2010, after having served in various senior roles with the company since 1998. Prior to joining EQT, he spent 11 years with Bankers Trust Corporation, working almost entirely with energy companies during his tenure. Mr. Porges began his career in the energy industry with Exxon Corporation.
Cabot Oil & Gas – Dan O. Dinges
Mr. Dinges joined Cabot Oil & Gas as President and CEO, and a member of its Board of Directors, in September 2001. In May 2002, he assumed his current position as Chairman, President and CEO. Prior to joining Cabot, Dinges held various management positions over 20 years with Noble Energy.
Jerry James, the president and CEO of Ohio-based Artex Oil, described the massive scale of Appalachian shale as follows: “If Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania would form its own country, we would now be the No. 3 producer of natural gas in the world.” Therefore, as Trump’s transition team continues to evaluate potential nominees, it is vital that the next leader of the Department of Energy recognize the potential and realize the benefits of shale in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Who better to fill that role than one of the executives already leading the way in the Appalachian Basin.