|How did you come to be in the oil industry?
My Dad was an engineer with Amoco early in his career and as a child we travelled the world on his job assignments, which led to my interest in not only the oil and gas business industry, but also the global reach of the business.
|What is your proudest work-related achievement to date?
When you build private companies, at the start-up stage you have to compel talented people to at times leave their comfortable jobs and believe in a shared vision with some risk. It is always a very proud moment when it works out and when critical projects are successful…it is more personal to your employees.
|What is your role in your job?
I have to be able to fully understand our capital structure and liquidity so we are always in good financial health and have flexibility. I’m the final decision maker on critical capital allocation decisions and then ultimately lead our staff in a shared vision. If I fail as a leader then I cannot attract the talent necessary to make sure I’m doing the first two items well, which directly leads to shareholder value.
|What is your or your business’ main area of growth?
We use M&A to help build our asset base and that is always a growth area, but we also use M&A to have quicker access to cash flows to reinvest into exploration programs, and it is the organic growth through the drill bit where we think we can separate ourselves.
|Where do you see the greatest opportunity in the oil and gas market?
To position ourselves as a partner to companies in multiple basins as they look to monetize either producing assets or post-FID projects as we slowly rebound from the bottom of the commodity slump while budgets are still impaired.
|Where do you see the greatest challenges?
As a U.S. company, compelling future equity and debt investors to see that our story of reinvestment competes and is as attractive as that of many successful onshore companies.
|What was the wisest advice you received from a mentor?
You have to find out how each company is going to solve a problem and find the biggest priority of need for each company before you enter a negotiation, or each side will ask for too much and the negotiation will get stuck, I’ve always found that to be true.
|What advice would you pass onto a recent graduate wishing to work in your line of business?
Expectations are the lowest for you in your first five years, which means you have an enormous opportunity to exceed expectations, so make an impression by working hard and staying humble, prioritize your private life to make the most of this time in your career.
|What are the strategic priorities for your company in the next 12 months and beyond?
First, we need to execute our budget which includes further development in our Tornado discovery in the US GOM deepwater and our Zama test in offshore Mexico but then further we will look strategically for the right transaction to further diversify our asset base and continue to build our project inventory.
|If you could wave a magic wand over the global industry, what would you change and why?
We do not do a good enough job of engaging the public about the benefits of our industry — that not all fossil fuels are created equal, natural gas developments are leading to less CO2, new oil developments have led to less expensive and more efficient fuel, saving money and improving lives — we need to do a better job telling those stories.
|What’s the one interesting fact about you that no one would suspect?
I’m unbeatable at table tennis
|How do you prefer to spend your spare time?
At home with family, maybe a night out with my wife. We have a second home in the small, rural town where my wife and I went to college in Starkville, Mississippi and it is a bit of an escape from the hustle of our daily lives.
|What’s your favourite holiday destination?
One&Only Palmilla in San Jose del Cabo
|All-time favourite book?
I have dozens, but a quick read of David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell describes us as a firm.
|All-time favourite film?
Again dozens, but in an attempt to not be too boring, I would tell you if The Hangover is on, I’m watching it almost every time, that and Shawshank Redemption.
|What three items would you take with you to a desert island?
Flint, a knife and Wilson the volleyball
About Tim Duncan
Tim Duncan is a Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Talos Energy LLC. Prior to Talos Energy, Mr. Duncan was the Senior Vice President of Business Development and a founder of Phoenix Exploration Company LP, where he was responsible for Phoenix’s business development evaluations and negotiations; including the sale of the company to a group of buyers led by Apache Corporation. Prior to Phoenix, he was Manager of Reservoir Engineering and Evaluations for Gryphon Exploration Company. Mr. Duncan also worked in various reservoir engineering and portfolio evaluation functions for Amerada Hess Corporation, Zilkha Energy Company, and Pennzoil E&P Company.
Mr. Duncan has a BS in Petroleum Engineering from Mississippi State University and earned an MBA from the Bauer Executive Program at the University of Houston. He is an active member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, IPAA, and the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA). Mr. Duncan also serves on various academically focused boards including the College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council at Mississippi State University, where he was honored in 2012 as a Distinguished Fellow of the College of Engineering.
In November 2013 Talos was named by the Houston Chronicle as the #1 Top Workplace in the Houston area for companies under 150 employees and has maintained a position on the list of Top Workplaces in 2014, 2015 and 2016. In June 2016, Mr. Duncan was named as the EY Entrepreneur of the Year for the Energy & Energy Services sector in the Gulf Coast area.