One of the best things to discover from a news piece reporting a new oil and gas deal is the story that lies behind it no one’s talking about. That is unless one is inclined to dive deeper to understand the decision maker behind the deal. Reese Energy Consulting today has done just that to feature a fearless, larger-than-life Texas wildcatter billionaire behind the wheel of his 35-year-old company who continues to bet big beyond the border.

REC today is following the latest news from Lewis Energy Group (LEG), one of South Texas’ largest gas producers. No secret to folks in the Eagle Ford, the San Antonio-based LEG has never been content to limit the geography reach of its oil and gas thrill-seeking. Those decisions fall to its leader, Rod Lewis—coined by Forbes as the “only gringo allowed to drill in Mexico”—who became the first U.S. producer to sign a contract with PEMEX in 2004. And more (ad)ventures lay ahead to include natural gas operations off the coast of Colombia and now Lewis’s latest cold plunge into politically-turmoiled Venezuela with a PDVSA deal to rehab five oilfields in decline—two of which currently produce 3 MBPD. The Biden administration on April 17 ended a sanctions waiver on Venezuelan oil.

Lewis and his latest mission to build Latin America’s next energy platform are equally fascinating. Born in border-town Laredo, Lewis launched his company in 1983 with a single gas well in South Texas and a hellbent ethos to control his own destiny. Over 35 years, he’s proved a quintuple threat stateside with the whole wellhead-to-market enchilada that includes a fleet of drilling rigs, oilfield services, saltwater disposal, end-to-end midstream services, and commodity marketing. Lewis also happens to own the nation’s largest collection of air-worthy WWII fighter planes, some of which he flies.