[Editor's note: A version of this story appears in the February 2021 issue of Oil and Gas Investor magazine.]

After his first year of college in the early 1980s studying pre-law, Robert J. Anderson decided he didn’t like that life path, so he unenrolled. He jumped from small job to small job in his hometown Denver, eventually picking up a Yellow Pages and looking up drilling contractors. He had heard about the oil and gas industry and was curious. He dialed the rotary phone until he came to Noble Inc., which back then still ran onshore rigs.

Anderson began working as a rig floor “worm” during the bitter North Dakota winter where minus 40 is a real temperature. He worked on two deep wells commissioned by Chevron Corp. targeting Winnipegosis below the Bakken “long before the Bakken was discovered,” he said. “We would drill through the Bakken, and it was an annoyance.” When he figured out being a rig hand wasn’t his calling, he enrolled at the University of Wyoming where he earned a petroleum engineering degree. Anderson graduated in 1986, when no oil and gas jobs were to be had, so he continued onward getting an MBA from the University of Denver. That foundation set the stage to becoming CEO of The Woodlands, Texas, based-Earthstone Energy Inc., a title he assumed in April last year.

In January, Earthstone closed the acquisition of Warburg Pincus-backed Independence Resource Management LLC, a fellow Permian producer. And riding an updraft of E&P stocks in the fourth quarter, Earthstone’s shares have more than doubled since October. Oil and Gas Investor spoke with Anderson shortly after finalizing the deal.

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