How mature oil producing areas still prove fruitful for Michael Minarovic and Arena Energy

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Michael Minarovic, Co-founder and managing director, Arena Energy, LP
Michael Minarovic, Co-founder and managing director, Arena Energy, LP

Exploration & Production
Michael Minarovic
Co-founder and managing director
Arena Energy, LP

Michael Minarovic, a petroleum engineer, had successful careers with Conoco and Newfield Exploration when he began think more often of how the mature oil producing areas in the shallow-water Gulf of Mexico still held vast potential. He was confident that new technology and some talented oil explorers would unlock drilling opportunities.
Minarovic was willing to take risks, and in 1999 with two co-founders, started Arena Energy.
The company’s focus would be to develop lower risk exploitation development drilling opportunities instead of existing producing assets or pursuing higher risk exploration drilling prospects.
Nearly 14 years after its formation, the Arena Energy continues to operate in the same area. It does not divest its “marginal” properties, but it continues to gather new information and reassess often. Minarovic has found that it pays off to look at these fields and the data periodically with a new perspective.
That approach is coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit that Minarovic encourages among his employees, allowing them to invest their own money into partnerships that are formed to fund various drilling projects.
What is noteworthy about these partnerships is that the two that have been formed so far have increased in value exponentially, and yet few of the employees who have invested their personal funds have cashed out their units.
While other operators in the Gulf of Mexico may be exploring other options or getting out completely, Arena continues with its original strategy. Over the past three years, Arena has operated all of the wells that it has drilled and has performed well as compared to its competition.
As Arena became financially successful, the founders began looking for additional opportunities to give back to society, so in 2008 they created the Arena Foundation. Minarovic and the owners of Arena provide the funding of the foundation. Arena encourages its employees to nominate potential recipients, and a four-person board allocates charitable contributions to those organizations it believes Arena can significantly impact.
How to reach: Arena Energy LP,