Abilene oilman Jack Q. Frizzell, of Enrich Oil Company, has known Phil Kendrick “forever” and calls his contemporary “a well respected oil man and a good oil finder.”

“He knows his geology and always has it down right and has his reserve calculations done right,” says Frizzell of Kendrick. “Just an all-around good oil man. Where I’ve spent a lot of time with him has been on his politics concerning the oil industry. He’s been very active in the oil organizations. He’s been outspoken, he’s known the issues, and he is well respected in those circles. He’s an activist for the cause of the independent oil man and an activist in trying to overcome governmental intrusions into our business. He has always attended all the organizational meetings and always has lots of comments and questions. He’s been a welcome voice for the oil industry. Phil is someone who is always willing to spend time with you and talk to you and find out what you are doing and how you feel about things. An all-around good man. I knew his dad [Phil Sr.] quite well, too, and respected him as an oil man.”

Born in Albany, Texas, and raised on a ranch in those parts, Phil Kendrick, Jr., landed in Abilene when his family moved here while he was in the second grade. On his way to earning his diploma at Abilene High School, Phil became fast friends with Fess Parker, with whom Phil remained in regular contact throughout Parker’s life. Parker, of course, went on to fame in film and television, most notably as the star of Davy Crockett and, later, Daniel Boone.

Phil completed his high school studies at Abilene High School at the youthful age of 16 and went straight to work at KRBC as an announcer, while attending Abilene Christian University. After serving in the merchant marines as a communications officer in World War II, Phil attended the University of Texas, graduating in 1950. He then started working independently and also with his dad at Kendrick Oil Company, as it was known then. In the late 1960s he went to New York City and worked on Wall Street in the investment banking field with White, Weld, and Co. He transferred to the White, Weld and Co. office in Los Angeles and in 1973 returned to the oil business, founding his own new company, Harken Oil and Gas Company, today known as HKN Inc. Phil moved from California to Abilene, Texas, in 1974 to establish Harken’s headquarters.

Soon that operation would total 125 employees. Kendrick served as president and later as chairman of the board. The company went public and through Phil’s connections in New York, they were able to enlist Merrill Lynch in raising money for them. “They raised $10 million for us the first year,” Phil says. “The last year we worked with them they raised $20 million. During those years we opened offices in Australia. We had 100 million acres over there. It was big. I flew over it for hours viewing Exxon seismic lines as far as I could see. I mean it was big. We opened an office in Brisbane.”

Brisbane lies on the eastern coast of Australia, and Harken Oil’s leases were 800 miles inland, in the Australian outback. “We made a deal with Exxon to seismograph the whole thing and they paid for the seismograph and carried us for ¼ interest,” Phil says. “And they had to drill 10 wells, minimum. But with all that seismograph and all their expertise and everything, we never had a show of oil. That was a shocker. But we ended up farming out part of it to another company and they got some real good production. So we had an override and ended up selling that override for $4 million—so we came out all right.

The Merrill Lynch money kept flowing to Harken Oil and Gas until sometime during the first term of President Ronald Reagan. Reagan changed the tax laws and made limited partnerships less attractive. It was then that, as Phil recounts, “Merrill Lynch came down here and said, ‘Fellas, game’s over. We can’t do this anymore taxwise. It doesn’t make sense.’”

Phil and other board members sold control of Harken Oil in 1983. Phil continued on as president of the Australian subsidiary for another year but then that entity, too, was sold. And the Texas oil man returned to take the helm of Kendrick Oil and Gas. Having worked in both small and large operations and having immersed himself in so many aspects of the industry, Phil Kendrick brings a broad array of skills and knowhow to his prospects.

“I do the geology, then I go out and I lease whatever looks good,” he said. “I do my own land work, as a rule, and I go out and do my own leasing. Then I get the investors and get the well drilled. And if it comes in, I produce it. I’ll buy somebody else’s deal sometimes if it really looks good and it’s reasonable. Sometimes I’ve operated under Kendrick Oil, sometimes just under the name Phil Kendrick, Jr.”

The Kendricks with their Oklahoma partners in the famous Sooner Trend believe they are able to drill wells on budgets that are substantially smaller than the dollar figures one hears so often today. “Some of these horizontal wells, the numbers you hear are in the $10 to $12 million range, and I know we are doing the same thing but better, because our wells are better than their wells, and we’re drilling ours for less than half the price.”

The same is true for vertical wells. Phil and Michael Kendrick both assert that they are drilling wells at costs substantially below what others are spending—and getting better results, on average, from those wells.

Phil was vice president of the West Central Texas Oil and Gas Association, which is now known as the Texas Alliance, for several years running, and has been vice president as well of the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO). He is presently vice president of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA).

As yet another Abilene-area oilman asserts, Phil Kendrick, Jr., has been an asset to others in the profession:

I first met Phil Kendrick and his father in approximately 1959,” said Jack Merkele. “Back in the period from about 1985 to 1986, I bought in on some of the Kendrick Oil drilling deals. Also, my oil companies, Crown Exploration Co., Charter Petroleum Co., and Probe Exploration Co., took on the geological well supervision as well as setting casing and doing the completion work on Kendrick’s prospects. As the years went by so quickly, Kendrick Oil became a good customer at my oilfield supply company, Crescent Supply, here in Abilene. In 1981–1982, Phil ran another company that bought into my well deals, some of which were quite successful.”

Moonshine Alexandra Grace Freshchest Megastar Vibrant