Gumption and Grit
Dyed-in-the-denim wildcatter Autry Stephens is the kind of man who takes no guff. Not from his roustabouts and certainly not from the likes of oil goliaths surrounding him in all six counties of the Midland Basin. Stephens wears a mug that reads “no sale”—not now, not ever. His business is family owned and he intends to keep it that way. Reese Energy Consulting today is studying the unflinching determination by Midland, Texas-based Endeavor Resources to remain untouchable by Big Oil, and the CEO that money can’t buy. With 329,000 net acres in the Midland, Endeavor controls one of the last major land positions held privately. Suiters Exxon, Mobil and Chevron have weighed bids that could value the company at $15 billion, making Stephens one of the richest people in the world. But for Stephens, now age 81 and already a billionaire, that’s not talk he cares to entertain. He’s got drilling to do. This year, Endeavor filed for 272 drilling permits in the Permian—21 of them in the last week to drill 17 wells. And you can bet Autry Stephens will be there come hell or high water to keep the family business operating just the way he likes it.