Tony Petrello reaps big payday in 2013, but also produces big results

Tony Petrello has been on board with Nabors Industries in a number of executive roles since the early ‘90s. Originally brought on board and 1991 as a chief operations officer, Tony Petrello’s presence was a crucial component in leading the company from chapter 11 insolvency into becoming a highly profitable business.

Petrello’s hiring by the company was largely serendipitous. He had previously had a career spanning more than 10 years with famed law firm Mackenzie Baker as a mergers and acquisitions attorney and had worked some of the largest deals taking place in American business over recent history.

He was originally working on the chapter 11 proceedings when he was noticed by Nabors Industries management, who believed he had all the right qualities to lead the company out of bankruptcy and back into profitability. He was hired in 1991 and immediately began implementing a radically different strategy than what had previously been Nabors’ modus operandi.

Tony Petrello, who had a MS in mathematics from Yale and a Juris Doctor degree from Havard Law School, saw the huge potential of North America’s shale and tar sands reserves. He knew that, if those reserves could eventually be extracted economically, in a way that would make them a viable source of producible oil, Nabors Industries as well as the United States itself could reap a gigantic windfall, becoming energy independent and creating vast numbers of new jobs as well as economic opportunities for all involved in the extraction of those resources.

Petrello immediately shifted Nabors Industries’ focus into the development of high-tech and cutting-edge drilling equipment that would allow for the economical extraction of the traditionally hard oil reserves that were found throughout North America. This strategy ultimately proved to be a gigantic success. By the mid 2000, Nabors Industries found itself the premier vendor of directional drilling equipment in North America, almost single-handedly fueling the explosion of oil extraction activity within North America.