Petro River Oil

Petro River Oil

Petro River Oil is a leading North American energy producer focused on US domestic oil exploration and production company headquartered in Dallas, Texas. All of Petro River Oil’s reserves and production are located in North America.

Petro River Oil was founded in 2012 and has focused on North American onshore natural gas and oil resource plays. These plays are opening huge new oil reservoirs and targets with vast hydrocarbon gas deposits in basins all across the United States. Through developing and implementing innovative oil drilling technology to reach deposits historically inaccessible to traditional vertical drills, Petro River is able to tap into vast oil supplies.

The Mississippi Lime and Missouri Heavy Oil Play

Petro River Oil focuses itself on the Mississippi Lime Shale region in Marion, Harvey, Butler and Cowley counties, Kansas and heavy oil reservoirs in a new play in Missouri.
These resource plays have been the focus of recent media attention due to newly available technologies that have made drilling these reservoirs possible.

Geological Overview of the Mississippi Chat and Lime Area

The Mississippi “Chat” is the uppermost layer between the Pennsylvanian and Mississippian aged rock and is considered an excellent reservoir of hydrocarbon. “Chat” reservoirs have a range of gross thickness from several feet to 80’ thick and are heterogeneous. Their porosity thicknesses range from a few feet to greater than 40 feet. This range of porosity is created by several factors. It is caused by uplift, erosion, deposition, and alteration of the original limestone commonly referred to as Mississippi Lime. The “Chat” is composed of varying degrees of weathered chert, limestone and dolomite. Porosities range from 3 to 35%. From conventional petrophysical analysis reservoirs look wet on logs. However, these reservoirs simply produce some water associated with the production of hydrocarbons. Water rates differ between wells depending on a formation’s mineral composition. 

The Mississippi Lime lies under the “Chat” and is comprised of the Mississippi Chester, Manning, Osage, and Meramec. This zone is also productive in the prospect area in addition to the Chat.

Drilling horizontal wells to connect a larger percentage of porosity with one well bore is advantageous to the Mississippian formations. Petro River is working with some of the latest technology to leverage

Comparisons to the Bakken Shale

The depth of the Mississippi Lime’s production is often compared to the Bakken Shale of North Dakota and Montana. However, the Mississippi Lime production area is about 5,000 feet compared with 10,000 feet deep for the Bakken Shale. The oil well cost for the Mississippian Lime is about $3.3 million to drill versus $8 million in the Bakken Shale, making it an attractive play with lower barrier to entry. The Mississippi Lime area is known for high porosity, low-pressure lime formations that hold higher reserves of gas and require unique drilling techniques.

Leadership Team

The company is headed by two oil engineer CEOs—Ruben Alba (co-CEO and Director) and Daniel Smith (co-CEO and Director). Luis Vierma serves as Senior Advisor.

Ruben Alba

Ruben Alba received his Chemical Engineering Degree from New Mexico State University and has worked in the oil and gas industry for over 13 years first with Halliburton Energy Services and Superior Well Services and, most recently, as COO of Glen Rose Petroleum Corporation. He has an intelligent, energetic and unique approach to complex reservoir problems involving geochemistry, geomechanics, surface logistics and environmental concerns. Ruben has introduced new and novel technologies involving new fluid chemistry as well as completion processes to reservoirs requiring cutting edge technology. He holds three patents in unique completion technologies and is adept to the challenges of unconventional reservoirs. 

Daniel Smith

Mr. Smith has over 15 years experience and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University. Daniel Smith is a registered Professional Engineer in Petroleum Engineering. Previously Mr. Smith served as Operations Engineer specializing in hydraulic fracturing and artificial lift for XTO Energy. Mr. Smith was responsible for managing fields producing more than 100 million cubic feet of gas per day and worked on numerous drilling projects, ranging from the Marcellus shale to the Permian Basin. Smith is a registered professional engineer in petroleum engineering and has more than 15 years of experience in the oil and gas industry.

Luis Vierma

Luis holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from Universidad Central de Venezuela (1979). He earned a master’s degree in Geology (Geochemistry of Petroleum) in 1984 from the University of Indiana, in Bloomington. From 1975 to 1978 he was professor of chemistry at the Chemistry Department of Universidad Central de Venezuela. He joined the industry in 1978, as geochemist of exploration at the research and development center of PDVSA (INTEVEP); subsequently, he was appointed head of the Organic Geochemistry Laboratory, where he was project leader of hydrocarbon exploration and then Head of the Inorganic Chemistry Unit. In 1993, he was appointed Manager of Upgraded Recovery of Crude Oil with Microorganics, according to an agreement executed between the Ministry of Energy and Mining of Venezuela and the Department of Energy of the United States of America. In 1995 he was appointed head of the Organic Geochemistry Section and in 1997 he held the position of Head of the Geology Section. In 1998 he became leader of the Bosque-Bucare Project to implement the strategy of shared productivity efforts. In 1999 he was appointed Manager of Exploration Businesses and in 2000 he was appointed Director of the Office of Policies and Plans of the Vice Ministry of Hydrocarbons of the Ministry of Energy and Mining (currently named the Ministry of Popular Power for Energy and Oil). At the beginning of 2003, he was sworn in as Director General of Hydrocarbons and External Director of PDVSA in March of the same year. Subsequently, he was named President of CVP, Vice President of PDVSA GAS, and member of the Board of Directors of CITGO. In January 2005, he was appointed Vice President of Exploration and Production of PDVSA.

Community Outreach

Petro River Oil contributes financial resources to a number of civic organizations throughout the United States. Petro River Oil is committed to veterans and eradicating veteran unemployment through creating employment opportunities in the oil and gas industry. Most notably, it is a partner and sponsor to the National Foundation for Veteran Redeployment.


SandRidge Energy, Shell, Range, Encana, Chesapeake Energy, Devon Energy, Marathon Oil, Doxa Energy, Petrobakken, Eagle Energy LLC,Tug Hill Operating, Apache, Repsol
YPF, Chapparal Energy, Vitruvian Exploration, Circle Star Energy,Range Resources , Sinopec, Atinum Partners, Midstates Petroleum, Redfork Energy, Unit Petroleum, Highmount E&P , Halcon Resources, Plymouth Exploration, AusTex Oil Limited
Natural Resource Partners LLC, Sundance Energy, Slawson Exploration, Evolution Petroleum, Osage Exploration, Atlas Resource Partners, Equal Energy
Magnolia Petroleum

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License