Since joining Nabors Industries in 1991, Tony Petrello has proven to be the most successful executive in the company’s history. Early on, Petrello decided to refocus the company’s efforts on more high-tech areas. This culminated in the eventual development of some of the most complex and high-tech drilling equipment that the industry had ever seen. Eventually, Petrello’s big bet on technology would pay off when the Bakken Shale formation in North Dakota became one of the largest oil plays in the history of the United States.
When Tony Petrello first came on board with Nabors Industries, the company was in tatters. The once-great company had been mismanaged for more than two decades, leaving it in a state of almost total insolvency. As one of the top tax attorneys with leading law firm Baker McKenzie, Petrello was charged with working out a solution that would allow it to continue on as a going concern and become profitable again. At that time, the Nabors Industries executives were looking for somebody who could lead the company into the future. The young Petrello appeared to be someone who may be able to do the job.
The executive team eventually hired Petrello as a junior-level executive. But throughout the 90s, he was able to work his way up the ranks, eventually becoming the chief operating officer of the firm. It was during this time that Petrello decided to invest heavily in the development of new directional drilling equipment that heavily relied on both automation and algorithm optimization in order to efficiently and effectively extract the hard-oil reserves that were stuck in America’s shale formations.
This effort eventually led to the development of both the ROCKIT performance drilling software and the Modular Offshore Dynamic Series, two of the most advanced drilling technologies that have ever been produced. As the first entrant into the directional drilling space in North America, Petrello gave Nabors Industries a head start that the company has never relinquished. Today, Nabors Industries is the single largest supplier of directional drilling equipment in the world. And it has been the dominant provider of all directional drilling equipment in the extraction of North American shale resources for the better part of two decades.
All of this activity has driven the book value of the firm from $1 million all the way to $17 billion. At the same time, Nabors Industries has become the single largest lessor of directional drilling equipment and land-based oil plays anywhere in the world.
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