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Member Spotlight: Mark D. Jordan, Knox Energy, Inc.

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Coordinator, Monday, June 01, 2015

The member spotlight series features legacy OOGA members who have been a member of the Association for at least 10 years. If you would like to recommend someone to be highlighted, please contact Lyndsey Kleven lyndsey@ooga.org

Background information:

Mark Jordan’s family has a notable history of oilmen, preemptively leading Mark into the industry at a young age. His grandfather W.F. Jordan started in the industry in the 1920s as a roughneck working on rigs in Texas and Oklahoma. He became good at what he did, and gained ownership of two rotary rigs. W.F. later moved the rigs from Oklahoma to southern Illinois where he established himself over the next 40 years as a well-known drilling contractor.

Mark’s father Jerry was raised in Illinois and grew up working as a roughneck for W.F., Jerry went on to become a geologist and lawyer, leading a storied career as an attorney, oilman and association leader.

Mark started out working for companies his dad was involved with.

“The first summer I worked for American Exploration I worked in the office doing administrative things. The following summers I worked out in the field for American Exploration and The Clinton Oil Company.”

Mark spent a large part of his youth in Columbus, until he went to Mars Hill College in Ashville, North Carolina where he received a business degree. After that he earned his two-year Associates Degree in Petroleum Technology from Seminole State College in Oklahoma. Mark finished up his schooling in 1984, and was planning to work in Oklahoma—until the bottom fell out of the oil and gas industry that year, having the greatest initial impact in Oklahoma and Texas. The Clinton Oil Company was still doing well at the time, so Mark came back and took a field supervision job in North Eastern Ohio for the next 4 years.

“I was working with contractors and other company employees in getting wells and pipelines hooked up, and gas flowing. We were doing well at the time, drilling 70-100 wells a year and kept really busy.”

In 1986-87 the downturn started to hit Ohio too, and in 1988 things got so slow that Mark came back to work out of the Columbus office doing gas marketing. The subsidiary, Clinton Gas Marketing, was flourishing which is where he worked for the next 5 years.

“Gas marketing companies were new and could make a good margin, and it was a good field to be in. I was a gas buyer for local Ohio gas, which was neat because I was meeting producers all over the state.”

After that Mark moved over to plugging and ran the administrative effort of plugging a large number of wells for CGAS. From here, he moved onto Project Development focusing on Rose Run drilling projects.

“We needed to bring in a lot of capital/partners to drill these types of wells. Our geology department was one of the best in the state and that made my job easier.”

In the mid 1990s Mark became the Vice President of the land department. Mark greatly enjoyed this position and had a lot going on at the time. CGAS developed various held by production acreage, and had to fill in a lot of leases to make up the proper blocks for seismic surveys. This was Mark’s last job he held at CGAS as Enron bought out the company in 1996.

“Market conditions changed, causing them to move in a different direction and they started downsizing the company. I recognized this and made a deal to leave the company early. I was also able to acquire 120 marginal type wells that they had in Muskingum County, which helped me to start Knox Energy.”

It ending up being a great platform for Mark to leave the company, he had worked for CGAS for 14 years and gained a wealth of experience.

“I learned a lot because of all the different jobs I had and it really helped me to start my own company.”   

About Knox Energy, Inc.:

November of 1998 is when Mark left CGAS and started his own company, Knox Energy, Inc.

“My office was in the basement of my house, and I remember my Ping-Pong table was my filing cabinet. It was terrible market conditions; $9 oil and $2.50 gas.”

Mark’s father Jerry helped him get the company started, right around the time Jerry was becoming the chairman of the Independent Petroleum Association of America. Jerry had been watching the supply and demand of natural gas and encouraged Mark to start the company.  He said, “hang in there, Mark, there’s going to be a boom”. They soon bought another 260 wells from CGAS. 

“A year or two later one of our friends Harry Berry decided to retire and sell his service rig, so we decided to buy it because it fit well with all the older type wells we had.  After we acquired the existing production we be began drilling new wells as the price of gas began to rise.  To date we have drilled over 400 Clinton and Berea wells.”

Mark moved into an office on the east side of Columbus and began hiring a staff. Many of his staff were former employees of CGAS, which worked out well as it was being downsized and Knox Energy was growing.

“The people that helped me build Knox Energy are unbelievable and have such great industry knowledge.”

Currently Knox operates approximately 620 wells throughout Eastern Ohio, with the main concentration of those being in Knox and Licking Counties.  It also runs a service rig division named Berry Well Service which operates five service rigs and other equipment, and is located in Gratiot near Zanesville.    

OOGA Involvement:

Mark became a member of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA) in the early 1990s.

“Being involved with the Association has really helped my company. One of the keys to business is networking with your industry peers. It’s so important that you do that and you want to stay as connected as you can. You have to give back to the industry because it gives so much to us.”

Mark first began getting more involved with the Association through its regional producers committees, he credits Tom Stewart for pulling him in to get more involved, as well as his father. He is presently on the Executive Committee and has learned even more being on the front line of all the decision-making, and holds serving in this role as an honor.

“The greatest value is what you can learn, and how you can help your own company. You can help your company by being involved with OOGA, because you know all the things that are affecting your industry, from new regulations, to what the predictions are for the future, to new technologies.”

Looking ahead:

Mark has been in the business since the late 1970s, and would never have believed the advances that are taking place. Specifically, where the industry is at today with the shale revolution. Mark noted that horizontal drilling has affected conventional producers in negative and positive ways.

“We have to be involved with everything that can impact our industry. If you don’t stay very alert as to what all is being talked about, whether it be regulation, or new technologies, if you’re not staying on top of it all you can be affected badly. We’ve got to help our industry have the best environment possible.”

Mark emphasized the importance of being alert to what’s influencing the future, and being able to affect the future by planning. 

“The current market conditions are very tough but it will turn around at some point. What I’ve found is, the producer community in Ohio is really good at working together.  We all need to stay involved in the association in order to try and make our industry conditions as best as they can be.”

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