Bryan Sheffield grew up the son and grandson of oilmen in Midland, Texas, and moved north after college to seek riches in the Chicago options pits. After a few years clerking at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and trading interest rates for First Continental Trading Inc., Sheffield returned to Texas -- and found his fortune.
Since his oil and natural gas company Parsley Energy Inc. sold shares in an initial public offering on May 22, the company has soared more than 29 percent, making the 36-year-old one of the youngest billionaires in the U.S., according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
“Exciting times for Parsley Energy,” Sheffield said in an e-mail Tuesday.
The company has about 112,000 net acres and stakes in 555 wells in the Permian Basin, a large oil and gas deposit in north-central Texas, according to a company fact sheet. It had sales of $143 million in 2013, about 80 percent from oil.
Sheffield owns more than 15 percent of the company after selling 1.8 million shares in the IPO. He owns another 22.7 million units that are convertible into common stock, according to the company’s prospectus filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Parsley Energy will pay him and the company’s other pre-IPO owners 85 percent of the tax savings the business received as a result of the offering. If the company terminated this tax-receivable agreement today, Sheffield would be paid about $122 million, according to the prospectus.
Brad Smith, a spokesman for Parsley, said the regulatory quiet period precluded Sheffield from commenting further.
Parsley is one of 28 energy IPOs to be held this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The group has gained 22 percent since their pricing, trailing only the communications sector as the best performing in the market.
The spate of energy IPOs reflects the brightening sentiment for the sector, according to Jonathan Waghorn, manager of the Guinness Atkinson Global Energy Fund.
“We went through a 34-month bear market until basically about three months ago,” Waghorn said by phone from London.
Since February, the MSCI Global Energy Index has rallied more than 16 percent as anticipated increases in oil coming from OPEC producers such as Iran and Libya hasn’t materialized.
“There is a sentiment change in the market that says even with the U.S. oil shale bonanza of excess supply, maybe we’re not going back to $50 oil,” Waghorn said.
Waghorn’s fund doesn’t own shares of Parsley Energy.
“In the Permian, specifically, reserves and resources estimates are continually getting revised higher,” Andrew Cosgrove, an energy industry analyst with Bloomberg Industries in Princeton, New Jersey, said by phone. “Horizontal drilling is in the early innings in the Permian.”
Parsley has identified 1,681 locations on its property suitable for horizontal drilling, about a third of the potential wells it has identified, the company said in its prospectus. Improvements in horizontal-drilling technology has revived oil production prospects in fields across the U.S. including the Permian, Cosgrove said.
Sheffield left Chicago to enter the oil business in 2006. He struck a deal with his grandfather Joe M. Parsley to take control of more than 100 wells Parsley retained when the business he co-founded, Parker & Parsley, merged with another company to form Pioneer Natural Resources in 1997, according to regulatory filings.
The billionaire’s father, Scott D. Sheffield, has served as Pioneer’s chairman and CEO since 1997. The Irving, Texas-based company owns about a one-third interest in Joe Parsley’s old wells. The younger Sheffield joined Pioneer for an annual salary of less than $60,000 in 2006, and started overseeing oil properties, according to SEC filings.
Sheffield left two years later to start Midlands, Texas-based Parsley Energy. Its first assets were 109 wells obtained from his grandfather, who now owns 6.5 percent of the public entity, including convertible units, according to the Parsley prospectus filed Tuesday with the SEC.
Parsley accumulated more than $450 million in loans from its founding through March 2014 to increase its acreage and wells beyond its initial assets. Higher sales followed the rise in wells. In 2011, the company had under $11 million in sales before tripling in 2012 and again in 2013.