Tony Petrello earns big money for big performance

Since its restructuring in 1988, Nabors Industries has become one of the nation’s premier oil services companies. With over 500 land-based drilling operations on five continents, Nabors Industries has become the world’s largest operator of land-based drilling assets in the world.

The company had auspicious beginnings. In the late ‘50s, Nabors Industries was formed as a conglomerate to begin the exploitation of Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay oil fields. This would turn out to be a momentous discovery, eventually resulting in one of the most productive oil fields in North American history. Through the innovation and hard work of Nabors Industries and its employees, the Prudhoe Bay oil field would go on to generate great revenues for the state of Alaska. This was particularly beneficial to the local native populations, who had previously lived under grinding poverty in a state where jobs were scarce and opportunity was nowhere to be found.


But Nabors Industries fell on hard times throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s. By 1988, the company was in chapter 11. Without the right leader, the company would have ceased to exist altogether. Management was desperately looking for the right man to lead the company into the future. In 1991, they found someone who they believed was the right match for Nabors Industries. A young mergers-and-acquisitions attorney named Tony Petrello had been working on a number of cases throughout the bankruptcy. He had a broad understanding of the oil services industry and had an incredible background with impressive credentials including a Juris Doctor degree from Havard Law School and a MS in mathematics from Yale.


Over the next 20 years, Petrello would lead the company in a variety of executive roles. He was instrumental in following a new strategy that involved the development and implementation of hi-tech solutions specifically for the tough oil reserves that at that time were known to exist but were unextractable throughout North America. These included the reserves in the Bakken Shale formation throughout North Dakota and parts of Alberta as well as the Alberta tar sands. This strategy would prove to be highly propitious. As the North American shale and tar sands began to take off, Nabors Industries was positioned to benefit enormously from these reserves.

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