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D CEO Award Programs

Winners Announced: D CEO’s Energy Awards 2023

Honorees include Ashleigh Bell of Elk Range Royalties, John Billingsley of JBB Advanced Technologies, Kipper Overstreet of Clearfork Midstream, and Legacy Award Winner Kelcy Warren.
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D CEO revealed its Energy Awards winners for 2023 at a private event last night at The Hall on Dragon in Dallas. The program also included an insightful conversation with Legacy Award winner and Energy Transfer Chairman Kelcy Warren. (Click here to read more.) He joins past Legacy Award recipients George Yates of Heyco Energy Group, Trevor Rees-Jones of Chief Oil & Gas, Scott Sheffield of Pioneer Natural Resources, and the late T. Boone Pickens of BP Capital.

Warren and all other Energy Awards finalists are recognized in the November issue of D CEO. Be watching for a photo recap and additional reports in the coming weeks.

LEGACY AWARD

Winner: Kelcy Warren, Energy Transfer

Warren’s company, Energy Transfer, operates nearly 125,000 miles of pipeline that transports roughly one-third of the country’s natural gas and crude oil—almost 5 percent of global oil supply. Energy Transfer has processed, piped, and then handed off supply at Gulf Coast ports, the East Coast, North Dakota’s Bakken and, of course, the Permian and Cushing. “We’ve done a good job of always asking, ‘What is the best purpose of that pipe?’ versus moving resources in other modes of transportation,” he says.  

The company’s revenue has grown from $1 billion in late August 2003, to $17 billion in 2012, to nearly $90 billion at year-end 2022. At times, some of his significant asset acquisitions looked like major leaps, even risky, to financial markets and analysts. But to Kelcy, nothing ever seemed risky. “It just seemed right,” he says.

To the great benefit of North Texas, Kelcy makes it a priority to give back, too. He quietly supports numerous nonprofits and, of course, made the game-changing donation to fund Klyde Warren Park; $10 million to kick it off and, recently, $20 million to help with an expansion. 

In thinking about his legacy, Kelcy doesn’t have lofty visions. He says he hopes one day, around a table, his son will hear someone recalling, “Boy he was tough—but he was a straight shooter, and fair.”

ENERGY FINANCE LEADER OF THE YEAR

Winner: Ashleigh Bell, Elk Range Royalties

Even as young finance and accounting professional, Ashleigh Bell has made the successful transition from public accounting to leading finance, accounting, and land administration in the oil and gas minerals and royalties business. She guides a portfolio that represents $500 million of invested or committed capital. Major wins include closing the sale of a portfolio of oil and gas minerals and royalties representing over $100 million in proceeds for investors, closing approximately 70 acquisitions of oil and gas minerals and royalties representing over approximately $125 million of capital invested, and managing the audit process for four separate companies.

Finalists: Steve Blackwell, Invito Energy Partners; Adam Powell, Valor

MIDSTREAM EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR

Winner: Kipper Overstreet, Clearfork Midstream

Kipper Overstreet is a midstream industry veteran with more than 25 years of leadership experience including commercial operations, M&A and optimizing strategic financial decisions. After a significant acquisition in 2022, he has led a financial, operational, and commercial transformation of the acquired company. His company is upgrading service across the Haynesville Shale operating area while focusing on aligning midstream platforms within his company’s management system. “Our management philosophy is pretty simple: We’re here to provide best-in-class resources and solve problems,” he says.  

Finalists: Scott Brown, Canes Midstream; Marshall “Mackie” McCrea II, Energy Transfer

UPSTREAM EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR

Winner: Albert Huddleston, Aethon Energy

Albert Huddleston founded his company in 1990 and has since led the acquisition, development, and divestiture of more than $1.6 billion dollars of oil and gas assets across the United States, beginning with traditional oil and gas assets then moving to shale and horizontal drilling assets. 

Finalists: Joseph Wm. Foran, Matador Resources Co.; Terry Gottberg, Merit Energy; Jordan Jayson, U.S. Energy Development Corp.

RENEWABLE ENERGY EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR

Winner: Lee C. Graves, ELM Solar and ELM Microgrid

Lee Graves is leading the renewable energy transition by providing needed solar panel and microgrid services to industrial and commercial users. He founded his firm in 1998 and has built the family of companies to include microgrid, solar, utility services, and utility mapping divisions. A veteran of the Reagan and both Bush administrations, he has grown the company enough to necessitate a move from its current 25,000-square-foot space in Lewisville to a new 125,000-square-foot facility in The Colony.

Finalists: Preston Bryant, Momentum Technologies; Aaron Wilson, Solar One; Fury Zaidi, NGV Global Group

RISING STAR/FUTURE LEADER AWARD

Winner: Aaron Symank, Symank Energy

Aaron Symank grew up in the energy business, painting tanks and doing deliveries to help with his father’s fuel distribution company. A born entrepreneur, he went on to found successful transportation and wine distribution companies. But energy was always tugging at him, so he got back into the business by buying a small propane distribution firm. He put what he had learned to work at the new venture and soon made three more acquisitions. But what really sets our winner apart is the way he worked with an engineering firm to redesign his company’s vessels. Rather than simply retrofitting, he focused on shape, aerodynamics, and weight distribution to carry more fuel on board and deliver more gas to customers. And it has a significant environmental impact as well. Not bad for someone who is still in his early 30s.

Finalists: Zachary Muroff, EnergyNet; Cass Powell, Ricochet Fuel Distributors

PRIVATE EQUITY EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR

Winner: Chris Carter, NGP Energy Capital Management

Over the last year and a half, Chris Carter has announced or closed the sale of more than $5 billion in assets in the Permian basin, launched the firm’s latest flagship fund raise with a target size of $2.5 billion, raised the firm’s latest energy transition fund closing at $700 million, and raised the firm’s second royalties focused fund closing at $527 million. After taking over for investment icon Ken Hersh in 2015, our honoree this evening has led his company—which has raised and deployed more than $20 billion dollars private equity funds since 1988—into a new generation. Among the assets he enjoys investing in are companies that have a decarbonizing impact on the economy. e and his company also give back to the community, serving at the North Texas Food Bank and other nonprofits.

PRIVATE EQUITY FIRM OF THE YEAR

Winner: Pearl Energy Investments

Pearl Energy Investments closed on its third fund with more than $700 million in commitments in March, bringing its total assets under management $1.9 billion. It also saw its biggest investment, Colgate Energy, merge with Permian Resources in last September. Since the transaction closed, Permian Resources’ stock has skyrocketed. The firm’s nominator says last year the company “provided superlative value to its investors in some of the most successful energy transactions and raised substantial capital to continue to augment the scale and impact of its success going forward.”

Finalists: BP Energy Partners; Tailwater Capital

EXCELLENCE IN INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY

Winner: John Billingsley, JBB Advanced Technologies

After building and selling one of the country’s top developer and builder of renewable energy projects, John Billingsley launched a new venture to deliver renewable energy sources to power blockchain and AI-based innovations. Each of those fields are still in their early days, he says, even though renewable energy has been available for years. If he could make one change to the industry, he says, he’d clear up the questions and misperceptions that exist among the public and elected officials, to fast-forward the learning curve because there are some truly breathtaking breakthroughs just waiting!

Finalists: Cody Davis, Oil & Gas Asset Clearinghouse; Joseph DeWoody, Valor

EXCELLENCE IN RENEWABLES AND SUSTAINABILITY

Winner: Bill Lantz, JGL Solutions

Bill Lantz uses microbe bacteria in the energy sector as an alternative to chemical scale and corrosion inhibitors, emulsifiers, and biocides. Its leader assesses chemical levels in wells, waterfloods, and salt-water disposal systems, clearing out caustic compounds. Then, his team injects naturally occurring microbe bacteria into the system, creating unique colonies for each site. Because microbes reproduce on their own, no pumps or drums are needed to control concentration, so maintenance costs are lower, and the risk of chemical leaks is eliminated.

Finalists: Marcus Randolph, Ecobat; Steve Thompson, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 6

ENERGY DEAL OF THE YEAR

Winner: Exxon Mobil Corp. acquires Denbury

Exxon Mobil Corp.’s acquisition of Benbury was orchestrated as an all-stock transaction worth $4.9 billion. The integration of the acquired company—which specializes in using carbon dioxide to extract oil from old wells—gives the buyer the U.S.’s largest owned and operated CO2 pipeline network at 1,300 miles. he company that was acquired exited bankruptcy in September 2020; since then, its stock has jumped nearly fivefold. As part of the deal, oil and natural gas operations in the Gulf Coast and Rocky Mountains gives the acquiring company more than 200 million barrels of oil equivalent, with 47,000 oil-equivalent barrels of daily production. 

Finalists: Energy Transfer acquires Lotus Midstream; Matador Resources Co. acquires Advance Energy Partners; Vistra Energy acquires Energy Harbor

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