Merrion Oil & Gas class in oil well prospecting ends with success

Class recommendations lead to $340,000 successful bid

By Erny Zah The Daily Times

UPDATED:   01/08/2015 03:18:37

FARMINGTON — Students in a class designed to teach the principles of investing in oil and gas wells earlier this month made a successful bid of $340,000 for two oil wells in the Gallup Play.

Merrion Oil & Gas hosted the class for high school and college students, which started in August. The goal of the class was to teach students about the process of evaluating oil and gas wells, then bidding on them during a live auction.

“They were taught the basic principles used to predict the future performance of an oil or gas well,” said class leader George Sharpe. Sharpe also serves as the company’s investment manager.

The class was split into teams and one team recommended purchasing the rights to the two Gallup Play wells. The auction took place on Dec. 3.

Sharpe said the teams learn how to evaluate a well, then recommend what price to pay.

“Based on the students’ recommendations, Merrion Oil & Gas was the high bidder in an auction for two Mancos oil wells at a price of $340,000,” Sharpe said.

The class of about 25 students met every Wednesday starting at 7 a.m.

This is Sharpe’s 20th year teaching young people. For the first few years, the class consisted of one student, then that grew to about five, and by 2000, Sharpe said he opened it up to any high school junior or senior, or college student who might be interested in learning about, essentially, what Sharpe’s primary role is at Merrion — buying wells that would make a profit.

The student’ final project was to evaluate the property for sale and to recommend the bid price in a formal presentation to Merrion Oil & Gas president T. Greg Merrion. Merrion said the class is one way the company gives back to the community.

“I like having the students, many of whom I’ve known all their life, come to our office and experience the workplace environment,” he said.

Merrion said the class also helps build character.

“The fact that they make a formal presentation to me at the end of the program not only builds character, but emphasizes that good communication skills are just as important as some fancy-dancy analysis,” he said.

Through the years, Sharpe estimates that he has taught about 230 students and only a few have actually gone into the oil and gas industry.

The class, he said, helps students narrow their career choices.

The students who participated in the class will receive a “Certificate of Studliness,” Sharpe said.

“These kids are committed and make a significant sacrifice for no extrinsic reward other than a piece of cardboard at the end of the game,” Merrion said.

Sharpe said he plans to offer the class again in the fall of 2015.

Interested students, who must either be seniors at any San Juan County high school or who will be attending San Juan College, should contact Sharpe at 505-324-5314 or by email at gsharpe@merrion.bz.