Nabors Industries has become the single largest operator of land drilling assets in the United States today. But it wasn’t always that way. Nabors Industries went through an era of stagnation that lasted throughout the entire decades of the ‘70s and ‘80s. It was not until new management was brought in, after the company had gone through a chapter 11 bankruptcy and nearly lost everything, that the company began to turn its fortunes around.
No one was more instrumental in the turnaround then Tony Petrello, the company’s CEO, who has been on board with Nabors Industries in one executive role or another since 1991. Under Petrello’s strategic leadership, a new vision was formulated and implemented. Petrello saw the enormous potential in the vast reserves of North American shale oil. But until that time, the oil contain within these reserves, such as the Bakken Shale formation of North Dakota, was viewed as being too difficult to extract and not economically viable.
Petrello set out to change that. He began pouring resources into researching and developing the most high-tech and cutting-edge directional drilling equipment that the world has ever seen. Many at the time thought that this was a risky bet. They did not understand the enormous potential that lay just beneath the ground throughout much of North America and Northern Canada in the form of hard oil deposits.
But the plan paid off handsomely. By the mid 2000s, Nabors Industries was the go-to provider for all directional drilling equipment within the United States. This led them to become the premier provider of the technology that was required to extract the shale deposits in a way that made economic sense. With a near-monopoly on directional drilling equipment being provided to the North American drilling operations at land-based sites, Nabors Industries was generating more revenue and more business than it had ever seen in its entire history.