In an industry as volatile as oil and gas, with its constant price fluctuations and uncertain sociopolitical pitfalls, it’s smart to stay in the know about up-and-coming players in the business. This is especially true in Texas, the country’s top oil-producing state, and Dallas-Fort Worth, home to three Fortune 500 energy powerhouses.
One such up-and-comer, Bridger Logistics LLC, migrated to North Texas from Shreveport, Louisiana, in 2012. Its success caught the attention of 75-year-old national propane distributor Ferrellgas Partners LP, which acquired the company in July 2015 for $837.5 million.
Bridger was founded in 2010 by Julio Rios, Jeremy Gamboa, and James Ballengee, veterans with roots in the oil-and-gas industry. Along with owning and operating assets across the midstream value chain, the company provides end-to-end crude oil logistics, from wellhead to end markets across North America. It’s the largest for-hire trucking company of its kind in the country, with 19 pipeline injection terminals throughout the United States. Starting from the producer, the company can deliver a barrel of oil with its own trucks, pipeline, and railroad cars directly to the refinery.
Bridger has interests—and competition—nationwide. The company owns and operates assets in 14 states, including in all the major U.S. crude oil production regions and basins: the Permian, Bakken, Eagle Ford, and Gulf Coast.
Rios, Bridger’s president and CEO, says he isn’t a fan of the status quo. Innovation and creativity are some of the company’s key strategies. “Never tell me, ‘This is the way we’ve always done it,’” Rios says.
Bridger got its start in the middle of what he calls the “shale revolution.” Technology has ruled the day, Rios says, “with a lot of the producers now able to tap reserves that weren’t able to be tapped in the past.”
Despite major technological changes and turbulence in the industry that has occured since Bridger’s launch five years ago, the company has thrived. The latest development—that aforementioned acquisition by Overland Park, Kansas-based Ferrellgas—is set to change the course of its future, too.
The acquisition turns Bridger into a midstream platform for growth. Ferrellgas has been providing propane nationwide for more than 75 years. The Bridger purchase will help it amp up distribution in a big way.
Bridger’s plan is to continue on that trajectory, as well as continue to help the business flourish and grow. And the company is still actively looking at both organic and strategic growth projects, according to Rios, who at one time was managing partner of a Shreveport law firm.
So, why the move to North Texas after two years in Louisiana? A big part of it had to do with recruiting, Rios says. “It’s hard to explain to prospective employees that we’re a good business based in Shreveport while competing with big companies in Dallas and larger metropolitan areas,” he says. “We felt it was the right thing to do, to move to attract talent. We pride ourselves on getting the best and the brightest.”
According to Rios, top performers appreciate Bridger’s dynamic style. “They know we’re go-getters, we’re very aggressive, and we like innovative things,” he says. “We build a business different than somebody else would build a business.”