Mickey Friedrich
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Co-CEO, Driftwood Energy Partners LLC, Dallas
12 FortyUnder40 feat. Friedrich, Mickey

Mickey Friedrich approaches each day with three goals: to work hard, take advantage of opportunities and trust that the end results will take care of themselves.

“We can sometimes fool ourselves by thinking we have more control over outcomes than we really do,” he says. “But what we do know is that it is those who are working the hardest who seem to get the luckiest.” 

Friedrich’s hard work has certainly paid off in the Midland Basin, where his knowledge of completion techniques and reservoir characteristics is remarkable. He has worked in the basin in a variety of capacities and has published several well-regarded technical papers that helped shed light on its reservoir characteristics. 

Under his leadership, Driftwood Energy Partners LLC achieved well results in the Midland that are more than double the existing wells in the area. And during his previous engineering role at Pioneer Natural Resources Co., Friedrich helped lead the initial horizontal Wolfcamp development in the Midland. 

A wearer of many hats: Throughout the course of his 16-year career, Friedrich has held numerous positions within the energy industry. He began as a pumping services engineer for Halliburton, before joining NuTech Energy Alliance as a completions engineer. 

Friedrich was hired as a staff reservoir and completions engineer by Pioneer in 2010 and steadily rose through the ranks into completions operations management and later into a senior staff reservoir engineer position. In 2012, he became a technical lead on Pioneer’s landmark $1.7 billion joint venture with the Chinese state-run Sinochem Group Co. Ltd. 

Before a deal was struck, he traveled with Pioneer executives to Beijing to help explain the stacked resource potential in the Midland Basin and how Pioneer was planning on exploiting it. “The reason that I was included was because of various pore pressure work and frack modeling studies that I had been pursuing, work which at first just related to vertical well development,” he says. “I got lucky that I was diving into these areas just before they emerged as key components in characterizing and developing what ended up being the most valuable asset that Pioneer owned.”

“What we do know is that it is those who are working the hardest who seem to get the luckiest.”

Friedrich says his on-the-ground experience and versatile background have made him a better leader. 

“It helps tremendously to understand the complexity of our business that goes on in the field,” he says. “It helps as we quantify risk and evaluate opportunities, and it helps when operations do not go as planned and we need to find a quick solution and communicate with internal and external stakeholders.” 

A change of plans: Friedrich has three post-graduate degrees, including an MBA from the University of Oklahoma’s Price College of Business and a master’s of engineering degree from Texas A&M University. 

Coming out of college, Friedrich’s plan was to pay off his loans and join the ministry. He began working in the energy sector to pay off those debts, but he soon realized he didn’t want to leave. 

“It’s been fun to see how that has played out so far and to see just how much faith and work play off of each other to make me so much more effective in both areas.” 

And when he began working as a petroleum engineer, he never envisioned he’d someday be running his own upstream company. 

“It was never a goal that I was aiming toward, but when our industry moved in the direction of providing opportunities for younger management teams, my experience aligned with what was needed. I was eager to make the jump.” 

Parting words: It’s natural for young professionals to strive for success, but Friedrich urges them not to confuse ambition with excellence. 

“Excellence makes the whole team better, and we get to participate in the rewards of the team,” he says. “Ambition is focused on the individual and is often at the expense of the rest of the team.”