It was Christmas Eve, 1985 ... and 31-year-old Tracy Krohn was freezing. Wrapped in a diver’s wet suit and loaded down with gear, he was submerged into the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway of south Louisiana blindly searching for the problem that could wreck his three-year-old company.
With zero visibility, he was left to use his hands to locate and assess the issue. The unscheduled, late night swim was prompted by a phone call earlier in the day from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. One of his newly acquired natural gas pipelines had sprung a leak. It was the line that supplied natural gas as a lift mechanism for the wells on the north side of the canal, which was what carried most of his young company’s revenue. Making matters worse, a permit from the Corps to pull the line and make repairs by the light of the day would take upward of six months to receive. It was a death sentence for W&T Oil Properties Inc.— now W&T Offshore.
Today, W&T Offshore employs roughly 300 people and has a market capitalization of $615 million. The company’s Gulf of Mexico assets are located across both the shallow and deep water. Its 605,000 gross acres on the shelf generate over 70% of the company’s total daily production, with the remainder coming from its 221,000 gross acres in the deep. As of the third quarter of 2019, the company was producing just over 41,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d), which included just one month of production from its most recent acquisition from Exxon Mobil Corp. at Mobile Bay.