Are Millennials The New Face Of The Oil Industry?

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Getty ImagesJust a couple of hipsters.

When you think of things millennials like, what comes to mind? Brooklyn? Artisanal GIF selfies? How about mile-deep shale formations permeable only by industrial drills and blasts of sand?

Yes, the oil industry has a new face, Business Week reports, and that face is sporting thick-rim glasses and questionable facial hair. The 34-and-under set is seemingly ditching Silicon Valley for the Texas plains en masse, with terrifying, bulldozing ambition the only thing that connects them to the oil barons of decades past. Well, aside from the facial hair, at least.

27-year-old Mark Hiduke, for instance, just raised $100 million to build his oil company, Dallas-based PetroCore LLC, even though it's only three weeks old. But lest you think the shale boom is just another passing generational fad, like Cronuts, think again: enough youngsters (please don't call them "youngsters") are getting involved that industry veterans have begun referring to their imminent rise as "the great crew change."

"These guys are going to be the poster children of self-made oil and gas tycoons," Nathen McEown, a 33-year-old accountant at Whitley Penn LLP, told Business Week. "Or they could be the poster children of how too much money is chasing deals."

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That's dependent largely on the success of fledgling oilmen oildudes like Hiduke and 34-year-old Patrick Collins, a third-generation landman who worked for a hedge fund research firm before making the jump to the family business. He founded Dallas-based Cortez Resources LLC in 2008; at one of his first meetings, he and his business partner dealt with men who were in their 80s. Cortez has since sold acreage valued at more than $100 million.

"What going to happen when the older folks retire, we don't know," said Matt Miller of Grey Rock Energy Partners. "You're going to see a lot of volatility. You're going to see young people making decisions that were handled by predecessors who had more experience."

For now, though, the budding tycoons can be found sipping (gluten-free) bourbon with those predecessors at places like the Dallas Petroleum Club, a prehistoric industry watering hole where some of the patrons are on walkers. Anyone want to place bets on how long until north Texas is christened the next Williamsburg?

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