Tony Petrello Helps Lead Nabors To Dominance In High-tech Drilling Rigs

Nabors Industries is one of the oldest and most revered land-based drilling companies in the United States. First founded in the 1950s, the company was instrumental in the extraction of oil reserves from the Prudhoe Bay oil play in Alaska. Later, the company would continue to be instrumental in the opening up of the North Slope of Alaska to oil drilling, allowing the residents of that state to experience one of the greatest windfalls in the history of the United States.

Even today, more than 60 years later, the name Nabors Industries is still held in extremely high regard by residents of Alaska, who benefited by receiving billions of dollars in collective royalty payments from their state’s oil reserves. Unfortunately, Nabors Industries was largely mismanaged throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, eventually leading to the company’s bankruptcy in the late 1980s.

It was around this time that a young tax attorney with law firm Baker McKenzie began working on the Nabors Industries bankruptcy proceedings. At that time, Nabors Industries’ upper management was looking for somebody to lead the company into the future. They wanted a smart, young executive who would be able to stay on board with the company for decades to come. They saw what they were looking for in Tony Petrello.

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Tony Petrello was brought on board in the early 1990s as a chief operating officer of the company. There, he immediately began making profound changes to the way in which Nabors Industries did business. He outlined a new vision for the company, focusing on the development of high-tech drilling equipment that would be able to give Nabors Industries a dominant position in the quickly expanding shale oil market. This vision turned out to be prophetic, with Nabors Industries providing the bulk of the drilling equipment that would eventually be used in the Bakken Shale boom of the 2000s.

Petrello’s strategic realignment of the company led to the eventual development of such technologies as ROCKIT performance drilling software and the Modular Offshore Dynamic Series. These systems provided the foundation for Nabors Industries’ extensive lineup of high-tech drilling equipment. Suddenly, it was possible to efficiently and cost-effectively extract some of the hardest shale oil resources in the United States. This would have actually dropped the profitability threshold of shale oil extraction to around the level of $50 a barrel. Such low price thresholds meant that an eventual shale oil boom was all but inevitable. And under the astute leadership of Tony Petrello, Nabors Industries was there to take advantage of the entire thing.

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