Pittsburgh Business Times: For veteran gas exec, driller’s growth plans suit him to a T

By Ashley Mikelonis In Homepage, News, Uncategorized

Tim Dugan comes to emerging natural gas driller Olympus Energy at an opportune time.

While many in the industry are contracting, his new company, Olympus Energy, is ramping up operations in eastern Allegheny and western Westmoreland counties.

“They’ve got a growth path,” Dugan told the Business Times recently in the Southpointe headquarters of Olympus Energy, the former Huntley & Huntley Energy Exploration space.

Olympus Energy earlier this month named Dugan, a veteran natural gas executive, as its SVP and COO. He had recently retired as EVP and COO of CNX Resources Corp.

Dugan is going to be plenty busy. His boss, CEO M. Chris Doyle, has been steering the company and its 100,000 or so Utica and Marcellus acres. Thus far, the company has drilled and completed 10 wells that are producing natural gas. The plan in 2020 is to more than double that activity, and build and complete 10 wells during its drilling program.

Doyle said it’s going to depend on market conditions, but that some drilling companies backed by private equity — and it’s backed by the Blackstone Group — are not being impacted by Wall Street’s souring on shale as much as by publicly traded companies that are cutting back on production, seeing their stock price drop, and in some cases, withdrawing from Appalachia or taking deep writedowns. At Olympus, the king of the mountain is cash returns. And that, he said, allows the company to focus on what’s best for the business.

“You need to be able to flex, you need to be agile, and being private equity-owned is the way to do that,” Doyle said.

Dugan, who joined CNX Resources Corp. (NYSE: CNX) in 2014 and led its shale operations, agrees.

“We’re looking at what opportunities are created by the market … and how do we grow,” Dugan said.

Doyle said he’s happy to have Dugan on board, saying he has proven multiple times at CNX and other companies that he knows how to grow companies beyond the early stage, which is where the 50-employee Olympus Energy is.

“He’ll certainly help with that process,” Doyle said. He said Dugan also will help not just with the day-to-day but also thinking out three to five years.

“It’s not just operations, it’s about getting one of the really strong leaders in this basin,” Doyle said.

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