The exceptional career of Ivan Sandrea, chief executive officer at Sierra Oil & Gas

August 23, 2016

Prior to setting up Sierra Oil & Gas, thereby securing one of the highest equity commitments ever, Ivan Sandrea was upstream strategy advisor to a number of global oil and gas companies. His clients included BP Exploration International, Merrill Lynch, OPEC, Statoil, the Energy Intelligence Group. He also co-headed the global oil and gas in emerging markets practice for EY.

© CC 2.0 by Steven Straiton

Besides his extraordinary professional achievements as a top manager, Ivan also played a key role in the development of the MBA Energy Management of the WU Executive Academy, where he still acts as a member of the program’s Advisory Board.

Mr. Sandrea, there are a few exceptional careers in the global energy business, but yours is really special.  You’ve held top management positions with companies like BP Exploration International, Merrill Lynch, OPEC, Statoil, the Energy Intelligence Group and EY. Does a manager like you still have goals?

Of course! For me oil and gas and energy are my passions.  In every country or company I work, my main goals are to 1) work with the best people 2) enjoy 3) create value where others can’t.

To set up Sierra Oil & Gas, you have secured equity commitments of more than US$ 1 billion. This is a tremendous achievement. Have you ever expected that you would be so successful?

The founding team of Sierra has been working hard for years and above all trusted and believed in a common vision about Mexico.  I have been the circus coordinator but the team made the goal.  We have started the journey with good delivery as we were the first winners of two highly prized blocks against major companies but we still need to create value by proving the resources and accessing more opportunities. 

With Sierra Oil & Gas you pitched against some of the largest energy players in the word – and you won. This reminds us of the David vs Goliath story, so how did you win against the industry giants?

Winning is about passion, wanting to win as a team, preparing for the event, and a bit of luck in my view.  We knew that the macro conditions would deter some players but above all we understood the importance of the moment.

About Sierra Oil & Gas:


Sierra Oil and Gas is an independent Latin American energy company established to pursue select upstream and midstream opportunities in Mexico.  Led by a team of experienced Mexican and Latin American energy executives, Sierra’s core business plan is to access and develop low-to-medium risk oil and gas opportunities as the Mexican energy industry undergoes a historic period of reform and liberalization. The company expects to establish itself as a preferred domestic partner for oil and gas activity in Mexico through differentiated access to international technical and commercial best practices, deep expertise in subsurface and operations in Mexico, and financial strength from leading international energy investors. Sierra expects to partner with specialized international E&P companies under an "influential non-operator" model and to also become an independent operator.

Learn more about the company here.

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