SM Energy CEO Visits TPH

Casey ColelloNews 2015

Jay Ottoson joined predecessor St. Mary Land & Exploration as COO in 2006 at the beginning of its transformation, which ultimately resulted in today’s more focused SM Energy. He assumed the CEO role in February and has since faced the myriad challenges normally associated with a down cycle…and then some. Jay acknowledged the difficult reality of being perceived as a “gassy” E&P in the midst of the current collapse in natural gas prices, but stressed that the company remains grounded in the principles of debt-adjusted per share metrics and inventory quality. Increasing that inventory depth remains an ongoing challenge, particularly in light of strong asset pricing in SM’s core areas (Eagle Ford, Bakken, Permian) and management’s reticence to take the dilutive steps likely required to capture opportunities that make the quality cut in this market. From an organizational perspective, SM appears to be efficiently sized for a “lower for longer” scenario with its technical staff focused on the complex details of optimizing completions and incremental cost reduction as the primary means to achieve debt-adjusted per share goals.