Specializing in the development and production of natural gas and hydrocarbon liquids along the Texas/Mexico border


Rio Grande is a privately held company engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of Rio Grande is a privately held company engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of natural gas and oil assets in South Texas. Rio Grande was founded in June 2017 by Glenn Hart (the former Chief Executive Officer of Michael Petroleum Corporation and Laredo Energy) and GS Gas LLC (whose principals include Governor Jeb Bush, Jeb Bush Jr, and Santi Barrosso).

The Rio Grande management team, which includes industry veterans Jerry Holditch and Brian Butler, specializes in South Texas natural gas production, particularly in Webb County, and the area surrounding Laredo, Texas. The management team has collectively drilled more than 500 wells, acquired interests in over 1,000 wells, and held oil and gas leases of over 500,000 acres in the area of specialization. Rio Grande has assets in South Texas and is actively seeking new acquisitions in our area of focus.

Our team

Michael W. Hart serves as Chief Executive Officer of Rio Grande, and prior to that as Director of Corporate Finance for Laredo Energy, both South Texas-focused natural gas exploration and production companies.

Prior to joining Laredo Energy, Mr. Hart was with Citigroup’s Global Energy Investment Banking Group in Houston, Texas where he focused on M&A advisory work and public capital raises within the energy industry.

Mr. Hart is a graduate of Rice University where he received a Masters of Business Administration.  He also received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Texas A&M University.

Jerry F. Holditch

VP, Geoscience

Jerry F. Holditch is the Vice-President of Geoscience.

Mr. Holditch graduated with a B.S in Geology and proceeded to work for Gulf Oil Corp. From there he served as a geologist for TransAmerican before becoming a partner at Michael Petroleum. He has served as department head of Geology through Michael and all Laredo Energy Companies.

Mr. Holditch holds membership in the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Houston Geological Society, and The South Texas Geological Society.

Brian Butler

Chief Operating Officer

Brian Butler is Chief Operating Officer for Rio Grandeand has over 30 years experience in the E&P business.  Prior to this, he served as Corporate Manager for Swift Energy where he managed operations and engineering for the company’s Production, Completions and Facilities functions.  In this position, Brian led multiple teams responsible for optimally developing and producing the company’s high-performing Eagle Ford Shale assets.

Prior to joining Swift, Brian served as Production Manager and Technical Expert for Southwestern Energy.  There, he was responsible for managing the rapid growth and optimization of the Fayetteville Shale, a large world class resource play.  Under his leadership, the company became recognized as one of the nation’s most efficient natural gas producers, with the division growing to over 2 Bcf per day in production.

Prior to their sale in 2007, Brian was Asset Manager for Seven Energy’s U.S. business unit where he directed multidisciplinary teams in prospect evaluation and field development, concentrating on resource plays and tight gas.  Brian began his full time career by joining Marathon Oil Company as Drilling Foreman & Field Drilling Engineer in the Gulf Coast Region.  He later advanced to a technical advisor role, where he worked closely with the company’s research arm in Littleton, Colorado on R&D projects to improve well performance and reliability.  Brian holds a B.Sc. in Petroleum Engineering from The University of Louisiana – Lafayette and is a member of SPE and AADE.

John D. Williams

VP, Reservoir Engineering

John Williams is Vice President of Reservoir Engineering for Rio Grande with over twenty years of experience in the oil and gas industry.

Most recently, John held the position of Vice President, Reservoir Engineering and Exploitation with Memorial Resource Development Corp.  While with Memorial he was responsible for managing the reservoir team’s contribution to development planning, reserves, budgeting, and acquisitions and divestitures. Prior to Memorial, John worked as Team Lead and Reservoir Engineering Manager in the Fayetteville Shale division at Southwestern Energy.

John served as Corporate Reserves Engineer at Southwestern in his initial role with the company.  Prior to Southwestern, John was Vice President at Ryder Scott Company where he was responsible for reserves and economic evaluations for clients throughout the United States.  He began his career working for Ken Andrews and Company.

Mr. Williams is a registered professional engineer in the state of Texas, is a member of SPE and SPEE, and holds B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Texas.

Will Ylitalo

VP, Land

Will Ylitalo is Vice-President of Land for Rio Grande and has oil and gas land experience covering Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Montana.

Prior to Rio Grande E&P, Mr. Ylitalo was with Battlecat Oil and Gas LLC. He oversaw several acquisitions and a successful divestiture to Lonestar Resources in 2017. At Battlecat, Will negotiated PSA’s, CA’s, JOA’s, worked directly with landowners and operation teams for drilling and workovers, directed leasing efforts, and handled title curative.

Prior to Battlecat, Will worked as an in-house Landman for Central Montana Resources, LLC. He worked in both the San Antonio corporate office and the regional office in Billings Montana where he managed a team of 10 landmen on various leasing and title projects. Will negotiated and secured leases, cured title defects and help manage the nearly one million acres leased.

Mr. Ylitalo has a BA in Government from the University of Texas and holds membership in the AAPL and the HAPL.

Robert Swanson

VP, Finance & Accounting

Robert L. Swanson is Vice President of Finance and Accounting for Rio Grande, and was part of the management team at Michael Petroleum that co-founded Laredo Energy after Michael Petroleum was sold in 2001.

Prior to serving as Vice President of Finance for Michael Petroleum, Robert was Controller, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Southwest Ice Enterprises LLC.

Mr. Swanson is a certified public accountant licensed in the state of Texas and is a member of the Houston Chapter of the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants.  He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Texas Tech University, where he studied accounting and business practices.  He has been employed previously in a supervisory capacity at CPA firms in both Houston and San Antonio, Texas, and for Enterra Corporation, a specialized services provider to the oil and gas industry.

In his leisure time Mr. Swanson is a marathon runner. At Rio Grande, he keeps astride of the company’s financial and tax reporting, cash management, human resources and risk management.

He and his wife, Melissa, have three children: Travis, Krista and Sarah.

Steven Jaques

VP, Information & Analytics

Steven B. Jaques, Rio Grande’s Vice President of Information and Analytics, and a company co-founder, was previously Vice President of Information for Laredo Energy and Michael Petroleum prior to that.

Mr. Jaques is a former programmer for Upstream Energy Services and has more than 19 years of experience in managing data and information systems for oil and gas exploration and production providers.

His work at Rio Grande is a process he describes as enabling wisdom by turning data into information, and information into knowledge.  As such, he holds responsibility for managing all of the company’s data, software, Geographic Information Systems, and IT infrastructure.

Mr. Jaques is a graduate of the University of Houston and attended the university’s downtown campus, where he received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance.  Through his extensive knowledge of energy information systems, he has helped develop several in-house and commercial software products for the E&P industry. He is an active member of the Professional Petroleum Data Management Association.

He and his wife, Wendy, have a daughter, Lily, and a son, Nathan.


November 1, 2022

Congratulations to Michael Hart for being chosen as one of Oil and Gas Investor’s Forty Under 40 honorees!

Click here to read more about Michael Hart and his selection to the Forty Under 40.

Click here for the entire list of Oil and Gas Investor’s Forty Under 40 honorees.

June 1, 2022

Rio Grande and Intrepid Investment Management Complete Sale of All of Rio Grande’s Oil & Gas Assets
Read the full article here.

May 30, 2018

Rio Grande E&P acquired over 70,000 net acres with oil and gas production in Duval, Jim Hogg, Live Oak, McMullen, Webb and Zapata counties in South Texas:

Intrepid Investment Management Makes Investment in Rio Grande E&P

July 15, 2019


HOUSTON – Rio Grande E&P, LLC today announced that it has completed its new dry gas 2019 acquisition in the Eagle Ford of approximately 5,700 acres. Using the Company’s extensive network of strong relationships, the Company has been able to secure the coveted lease acreage.

Glenn Hart, Rio Grande E&P’s Chief Executive Officer, commented, “This additional acreage acquisition allows our team to build upon more than a decade of hands on experience in the Eagle Ford in Webb County. We strongly believe in the quality of the rock on these leases. We feel even more strongly about the acreage given EOG Resources’ acquisition of surrounding acreage earlier this year.”

January 28, 2020


HOUSTON – Rio Grande E&P, LLC today announced that the Company’s Nido Ranch 1H well has achieved a peak 30-day IP of approximately 11,600 million cubic feet of natural gas equivalent per day (“Mmcfe/d”) while averaging 4,400 pounds per square inch (“psi”) of flowing tubing pressure under the Company’s detailed pressure management program. Additionally, the Nido Ranch 1H has delivered approximately 500 million cubic feet of natural gas in its first 45 days of production. The well has a lateral length of approximately 7,000 feet and utilized the Company’s proprietary completion design of roughly 2,500 pounds of proppant per lateral foot.

“The Rio Grande team has achieved an outstanding result with this Eagle Ford well, the Nido Ranch 1H. We were able to demonstrate a remarkable ability to operate effectively and efficiently. Our team stayed within a 20-foot target zone for 98% of the lateral and delivered an efficient completion with no screen-outs or plug drill-out problems,” said Glenn Hart, Chief Executive Office of Rio Grande E&P. “The Nido Ranch 1H is an important proof-of-concept well for the Company as we transfer our learnings from our prior experiences in the dry gas Eagle Ford. This well, along with other recent wells from offset operators, goes a long way in providing support for 2.0 Bcf per thousand lateral feet type curve.”

Contact Us


    2800 North Loop W., Suite 1000
    Houston, Texas 77092-8850
    Main Phone: 281-616-0505