Texas Tech University

Distinguished Engineer Citations

Distinguished Engineer Photo: Stephen Heitzman
Stephen Heitzman

Stephen Heitzman

Distinguished Engineer



Mechanical Engineering – 1972



At Time of Nomination in 2015

Stephen Heitzman is executive vice president and chief operating officer of Talos Energy LLC, a private equity backed oil and gas exploration and production company operating in the Gulf of Mexico.

Heitzman spent his formative years in a small town northwest of El Paso, eventually becoming the second Eagle Scout in his community. Enrolling at Texas Tech in mechanical engineering in 1968, he worked summers for oil companies in Texas and Oklahoma. After graduation, Heitzman took a job with Amoco monitoring drilling and production activity in the field and was soon promoted to division office reservoir and operations engineering assignments.

From Amoco, he moved to Transco Exploration Company as the organization’s third engineering hire. Starting as a reservoir engineer working on reserves, economics, and lease sales, he became the first production engineer to work on completions for wells drilled on the leases he had determined bids for previously. This exposure to a property from initial leasing, exploratory and development drilling, and reserve determination, through to well completions and production operations provided a great learning experience. In early 1980, he joined Roy M. Huffington Inc. to help start a domestic joint venture, Huffco Petroleum. Heitzman supervised the reservoir engineering, production engineering, property acquisitions, and oil and gas marketing. Later, this association with Roy Huffington provided Heitzman with an opportunity with Huffco Indonesia in Jakarta, Indonesia. He worked in a giant oil and gas complex containing approximately 17 Tcf of gas and he co-authored an in-house computerized depletion planning model that generated a work plan to match field deliverability to the Bontang LNG plant demand. He then initiated formulated objectives for — and directed field exploitation teams to — accomplish the deliverability objectives of 1.5 Bcf per day gas flow to the LNG plant and evaluate the company’s reserve base.

Upon returning to the United States, Heitzman became involved in the formation of two start-up oil and gas organizations before becoming a founding member and equity owner leading the engineering functions of Gryphon Exploration, a private equity backed pure exploration company operating in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gryphon team built a sizable reserve base with top quartile operating metrics that was sold to Woodside USA in 2005. In 2006, Heitzman and a group of Gryphon executives started private equity backed Phoenix Exploration. He ultimately became CEO and president of Phoenix, which was sold to Apache in 2011. Following Phoenix, the team formed Talos Energy with Heitzman in his current role. Talos acquired $600 million of private equity backing and purchased ERT’s Gulf of Mexico shallow and deep water assets. Since that time, Talos has made several other smaller acquisitions and has net production of 28,000 BOEPD.

Heitzman is a Registered Professional Engineer in Texas, a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Texas Tech Academy of Petroleum Engineers, the Texas Tech Engineering Key Society, a scholarship donor to the Red Raider Club, has funded scholarships for engineers, and is pleased to be a major donor to the Terry Fuller Petroleum Engineering Building with a conference room named in his and his wife’s honor. He has been married for 42 years to Andra Heitzman, a 1973 Texas Tech graduate. Their son Austin owns a woodworking company in Portland, Oregon and their daughter Ashley is an artist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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