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Energy Spotlight: M. Christopher Doyle

| Sunday, May 15, 2016, 11:24 p.m.
M. Christopher Doyle, who will lead a new operational arm at Monroeville-based oil and gas exploration company Huntley & Huntley Inc.
M. Christopher Doyle, who will lead a new operational arm at Monroeville-based oil and gas exploration company Huntley & Huntley Inc.

M. Christopher Doyle was lured into the energy business by a scholarship from the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

It pushed him into the petroleum engineering program at Texas A&M University, where he took a geology class “and I just fell in love.

“It's such a cool mix of high science and high finance. It serves a great purpose for our nation,” the Houston native said of the engineering field.

Doyle, 43, parlayed the scholarship into a 20-year career that this month brought him to Monroeville-based oil and gas exploration company Huntley & Huntley Inc. He will lead a new arm of the 104-year-old company that expands its position and moves toward more gas production from the Marcellus and Utica shales around Pittsburgh.

“One of the real challenges some companies have ... is you need to take this 100-year view of development. We'll be partners for 100 years,” he said of working with leaseholders. “It's rare to be around a company that already has that view with a 104-year legacy.”

Doyle, the son of an Episcopal priest and an English teacher, married the daughter of his high school English teacher. He and wife Christina — who herself teaches English — have two children, ages 11 and 6.

After college, he went to work for Anadarko Petroleum Corp., working his way up from field engineer in Kansas to vice president of operations for a region that included the Marcellus and Utica shales, with stops in between in London and Algeria. He was working on a rig in Algeria when terrorists struck the United States on 9/11.

“That's one of the reasons I am so passionate about the Marcellus and what it's done for the U.S.,” he said. “Energy security is top of mind for me.”

Doyle expected to spend his career at Anadarko, as his grandfather did at Mobil, but in 2013 he followed one of his mentors, Doug Lawler, to Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy when Lawler became CEO there.

He said he could not pass up the opportunity at Huntley & Huntley to help lead a new venture at an otherwise established company.

“When I met (CEO) Keith Mangini and (COO) Mike Hillebrand, it was just a perfect match,” he said, noting a positive culture at the company. “It was a quick marriage that happened.”

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