Bud and Mitchell Newton

The oil and gas industry recently added another new company to its family: Newton Energy Partners. Founded by two UT PGE alumni—Bud Newton (BSPE '83) and son Mitchell Newton (BSPE '07)—Newton Energy Partners launched in October 2010 after receiving a $75 million equity commitment from Kayne Anderson Energy Funds.

The company is set to begin operating fields in Canada this year, in the process adding another company and its assets to their Woodlands-based operation.

bud and mitchell newton photo

The whole idea for starting the company came through a series of family fishing trips to Port O'Connor, TX.

"When Mitchell was a sophomore at UT PGE, we had a fishing camp and spent a lot of time driving down there and riding around the bay in the boat, having lot of conversations about what we'd like to do. The conversation kept coming around to, 'some day, wouldn't it be fun to start our own company?'"

"We were probably standing in waist-deep water, fishing shoulder-to-shoulder, talking about the idea of a company," laughs Mitchell. "We just kept talking about it, and talking about it, and from there it was just a topic that came up over the next two years until my dad called me and said, 'let's do it!'"

Logo featuring black oil derrick with 'Newton Energy Partners' in orange.Before founding Newton Energy Partners, Bud Newton served as Division Manager for the Gulf of Mexico for Hilcorp Energy Company, and during his career there led the company into its Eagle Ford shale operations, its initial acquisitions in the Gulf of Mexico, and managed Hilcorp's West Louisiana assets. Before joining Hilcorp, Bud Newton was a reservoir engineer and supervisor at Samedan Oil Corporation, and before that a field engineer with Stevens Engineering in Wichita Falls—where a five-year-old Mitchell Newton would tag along with his dad going out to the fields. Fifteen years later, Mitchell was graduating from UT PGE and going to work at Apache Corporation.

Both father and son are bringing their combined experience to play in their new family venture, says Bud. "We know what kind of company we are going to build, what kind of work we want to do—taking legacy fields, working them over, properties with plenty of meat left on the bone. They are complex assets. What excites me is that they will require a lot of engineering and geological work. We get to put our ideas in action. I will rely on Mitchell a great deal—even more than I thought I would. He is a good reservoir engineer. At the end of the day, I get to turn him loose to do what he is good at, and I work on what I'm good at, and we get to do it together."

Mitchell, whose experience includes production engineering in the Permian Basin and onshore reservoir engineering, is of a similar mindset. "One of the things that excites me the most is the risk associated with it; every single day is different, and I get to learn new things every day," says Mitchell. "I get to learn from my dad, and at the same time get to see our hard work really pay off."
Both of the Newtons know that it will take time to build their company up into the ranks of other UT PGE alumni-owned companies. They both know it's time to hunker down and get to work.  "Over the next three to five years, we're going to be drilling a lot of wells," beams Bud. "We're really looking forward to it!"