The winning combination of hard work and good people has been key to the growth of Mountain V Oil & Gas Inc., President S. Michael Shaver says. “We all get up early, stay late and everybody looks for opportunities,” he says.
Based in Bridgeport, W.V., Mountain V acquires and develops oil and gas reserves. Shaver and his father, Steve Shaver, founded the company in 1994 after many years in the industry.
“Our intent of going into business was to acquire mature oil and gas assets,” the younger Shaver recalls. “We were fortunate enough to acquire wells close to home, in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.”
When natural gas prices improved in 2002, Linn Energy acquired all of Mountain V’s legacy Pennsylvania assets, he recalls. Four years later, EXCO Resources Inc. purchased its West Virginia legacy assets.
After the death of his father in 2006, Michael Shaver started rebuilding Mountain V. “In last 20 years, we drilled close to 800 wells in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee,” he recalls. “We were also fortunate to have acquired some acreage in the sweet spots of the Marcellus, which Mountain V sold its interest to Range Resources and Rice Energy.”
Today, Mountain V owns and operates 1,041 wells in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, and produces primarily from the Upper Devonian, Oriskany and Marcellus Shale formations. It operates with a staff of 29 that has worked 18,298 hours in 2015 without a single accident.
Mountain V prefers to operate in the Appalachian Basin, Shaver says. “We have a history in the area, and have made a lot of good contacts and friends along the way that have enabled us to maximize our potential within the Basin,” he states.
Mountain V, through its 20-year history, performed all of its own roustabout services, and recently started offering those same quality roustabout services to other oil and gas companies. Shaver explains that this decision was made at a time when business was slow for the company.
“It was about 2012, and we had really stopped drilling for ourselves,” he recalls, noting that several of his longtime laborers were in danger of losing their jobs. “I was down to a decision that no one wants to make of having to lay them off.”
He instead kept them busy by offering those roustabout services to other oil and gas companies, which blossomed. “We do everything from building fence to rerouting pipelines to hooking up production facilities to grading roads,” Shaver says. “We do everything that’s labor intensive.”
In the past year, Mountain V grew its operations by acquiring the assets of six smaller, independent companies, Shaver says. Thanks to these purchases, “We’ve been able to cut costs and increase our production,” he says.
This has helped Mountain V, which has been watching its expenses due to low commodity costs. “We’ve also been fortunate to have some good partners that have the trust in Mountain V to invest with us,” Shaver adds.
These include CrossFirst Bank in Tulsa, Okla., and GE Capital. “The bank of CrossFirst has been great to work with [in regards] to the acquisitions we’ve been able to accomplish,” he says. “We’ve had a great relationship with GE Capital [which also] afforded us to look at larger deals.”
Mountain V plans to acquire more conventional oil and gas companies in the Appalachian Basin. “When you find a niche, that’s what you stick to,” Shaver says.
Shaver is proud of Mountain V’s workplace and staff. “It’s a good environment,” he says, noting that his key associates include Executive Vice President and Petroleum Engineer Mark Hackett. “He’s not a only an employee; he’s a great sounding board.”
Additionally, “We have a great support staff,” he continues. “They’re all working for the same thing, and that’s to improve the bottom line.”
Shaver says that the future of the company’s market is somewhat alarming, due to the low commodity prices. “[There’s also] the uncertainty with changing regulations not only on a state, but a federal level,” he says. “Times that are the hardest I’ve seen in 25 years.”
However, Shaver is remaining optimistic because of the pipelines that are being built locally. “There are a lot of jobs being created with the pipelines, which is good for the local economy,” he says.