Founded in the 1960's, Gene Stalnaker began working in the oil and gas industry by borrowing money to make a down payment on a backhoe. With the backhoe, he contracted his services to Consolidated Natural Gas and other clients. From these humble beginnings and through honesty, hard work and perseverance, he built an oil and gas company that drilled and operated hundreds of wells throughout the state of West Virginia.
In 1969, Gene expanded the scope of his business by purchasing a cable tool drilling rig. He began drilling operations by working on in-house wells. After performing contract backhoe work through the day, he would go to the cable tool rig and drill in the evenings. Gene expanded the equipment side of the business by adding additional equipment and employees to concentrate the company's focus on providing earth moving services and building drilling locations for other operators.
Gene created Gene Stalnaker, Inc. and incorporated it as a West Virginia corporation in 1974. Two years later, he obtained the first rotary drilling rig for the company. One rig per year was added between 1976 and 1981 with the sixth rig being added in 1984. These six rigs, with depth capacity of 9,500 feet, along with the necessary ancillary service equipment such as dozers, backhoes, tractors, trailers, water trucks and well service rigs, formed the core of the company fleet.
Gene Stalnaker, Inc. operated as both a drilling contractor and oil and gas operator, drilling more than 800 wells throughout the state of West Virginia. The company employed more than 150 people during the height of their drilling operations in the mid-1980's. With the downturn of the Appalachian oil and gas industry in the late 1980's, Gene Stalnaker, Inc. divested itself of its drilling equipment and began to focus on developing and producing its own leaseholds.
In April of 1998 the various Stalnaker companies were merged to form Stalnaker Energy Corporation, an independent oil and gas development and production company. SEC operates more than 400 oil and gas wells thorughout the state of West Virginia, many drilled by the company and others obtained through acquisitions.
In a tragic accident, Gene Stalnaker passed away on July 2, 1999. He was one of the first independent oil and gas producers to drill and develop the deeper Devonian Shale formations in the region and was very instrumental in shaping the oil and gas industry in the state into the booming industry that we know today. In addition to his business accomplishments, Gene was a dedicated family man and a devout Christian, leaving behind a legacy of hard work, commitment, integrity and faith. He is deeply missed today by his family and friends, as well as the oil and gas industry as a whole.