Tony Moss

Director, Powder River Basin, Continental Resources Inc., Oklahoma City

Tony Moss began working as an exploration geologist in the Bakken Shale in 2008 and helped unlock the play’s full potential for Continental Resources Inc. and the industry over the next 10 years. Having now turned his eye to the Powder River Basin, he recognizes the vast potential there that has been undercapitalized by the industry over the past decade and intends to take it to the next level.

Why did you enter the oil and gas industry?

“I’ve always had a passion for geology. When I was a kid, my family would go on camping trips to Missouri, and I would spend hours hunting for fossils in a dry riverbed to add to my rock collection. In high school, I began researching how I could apply my love of geology and the outdoors into a future career. I was fortunate enough to have an uncle who was a part owner of a small independent operator in Tulsa, [Okla.]. The summer before I started college, I had the opportunity to shadow their geologist as well as go out into the field with their production engineer. I was immediately hooked on the industry.”

What is a career milestone you reached sooner than you had planned?

“A career milestone that I reached sooner than I had planned would definitely be my most recent promotion to director, Powder River Basin at Continental Resources. I led Continental’s evaluation of the Powder River Basin as the exploration manager for the Rockies team, and my team and I were able to put together an industry-leading position in the core of the play in less than 18 months.”

What qualities do you think are necessary for a good leader in the oil and gas industry?

“A good leader must be able to set a vision for their team and share that vision effectively to drive a sense of purpose and direction. There are always a lot of tasks to be done in any project, but buy-in and overall drive is greatly enhanced when there’s a good understanding of the ‘why’ of a project. A good leader must also be intentional with team building and facilitating an environment of trust and empowerment within their organization.”

What do you think young industry members have to offer that is unique to them? 

“Younger industry members bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to help continue to move this industry forward. From taking a fresh look at old areas or formations once thought to be uneconomic, to furthering our industry’s adoption of technology to streamline workflows, the impact of the younger generation of oil and gas professionals will be felt for decades to come.”

Who is your mentor, and what is the most valuable advice they have given you? 

“I’ve been very fortunate to work alongside some great people and mentors in my career. One mentor who has had a tremendous impact on me is Jack Stark, who recently retired as president and COO of Continental. Jack hired me as an intern in 2008, and I learned a ton from him over the next 14 years. One particular piece of advice that I apply constantly is to learn how to recognize when you have done enough and have enough information to move forward—and then do it!”

What keeps you motivated and passionate about working in the oil and gas industry?

“First and foremost, I love what I do. This is an exciting industry where no day is exactly like the other. The ‘love of the hunt’ would be a good way to describe it—I’m an explorationist at heart, and there is nothing more exciting to me than identifying a new prospect or working with my team to find new ways to optimize development of an existing asset. Secondly, it’s hard not to be motivated knowing the impact this industry has on society—access to clean and reliable energy is one of the major differentiators in quality of life across the world.”

Three More Things
  1. Those that know me well would say I’m a big kid at heart. One of the perks of being a dad to two young boys is engaging in some pretty epic Nerf and lightsaber battles!
  2. My favorite pastime is being outdoors. I enjoy camping and fishing in Missouri and hunting with my dad and brother-in-law at our land in Okfuskee County, Okla.
  3. I have Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in geology from Oklahoma State University—go Pokes!