Roger Jenkins is the first deepwater drilling expert to lead Murphy Oil Corp. as he took the CEO helm at the end of the Murphy USA spin-off period.
Jenkins, a diehard LSU fan, is as passionate about work as he is about his Bayou Bengals. The 53-year old Franklin Tongue, La. native succeeded Steve Cossé, who joined Murphy Oil in 1991 as general counsel.
“I’m not a workaholic, but I’m a worry-a-holic,” says Jenkins, who describes his leadership style as hands-on and keeping constant contact with managers. “I worry about things about work all the time. Work is my life, really. I’m not one to hang back in my room and read things. I like to go see the people who are doing the work and gain insight from them.”
Married with two children, Jenkins isn’t much into hunting and fishing, but he does play golf. And, as an avid LSU tailgater, Jenkins shares one thing in common with nearly every Arkansas Razorback fan.
“My hatred is really all about Alabama,” he jokes about his SEC football passion.
He travels to most LSU football games – home and away – throughout the fall.
His father was the comptroller of a large company and Jenkins says that as young man he recognized the benefits and job security that could come with a corporate job. The oil industry was popular in the Louisiana Gulf and while in college, he went on a drilling rig and got hooked on the industry.
He received a degree in petroleum engineering from LSU and started a deepwater drilling career that included stints with Texaco and eventually Chevron/Texaco when the two companies merged.
That merger led Jenkins to Murphy Oil. He headed up the El Dorado firm’s Malaysian Kikeh operations for six years during a crucial – and successful – venture in that region’s oil and gas fields.
“Malaysia speaks to what Murphy’s all about. We’re an exploration driven company. We seek places that are under-explored with big potential,” Jenkins said, noting that the company has historically taken a lot of risks that have paid off. “It’s one of the reasons I wanted to come to Murphy and its one of the reasons we’re able to attract people today.”
With the spin-off in effect, Murphy Oil will become the pure-play exploration company that many of its bigger rivals have also transitioned to.
“It will allow us to be in a peer group where we will have a very large exploration portfolio for our size. Today, people are being rewarded by focusing in on one thing,” Jenkins said. “The idea of an integrated oil company is not being viewed upon as favorably by the investment world.”
For years, the oil and gas industry have been transitioning as traditional fields and plays have shrunk. New technology, such as shale drilling, is redefining the market and creating new sources of output crucial to the world’s energy supply.
Jenkins and leaders of companies like his are modern-day explorers looking for a different type of treasure than gold doubloons at the bottom of the sea.
“We continue to find oil over the world,” he says. “There is still continued exploration success among almost all margins, such as Brazil, West Africa, Gulf of Mexico and Australia… The main thing for us is we’ll remain an explorer.”