Kent Wells to Become President, CEO of MDU Resources’ Natural Gas & Oil Production Business

BISMARCK, N.D.--()--MDU Resources Group, Inc. (NYSE:MDU) today announced that industry veteran J. Kent Wells will become president and chief executive officer of the corporation’s natural gas and oil production business, Fidelity Exploration & Production Company.

Wells’ extensive experience spans more than 30 years with BP and Amoco, including responsibility for BP’s U.S. onshore natural gas business. He will report directly to MDU Resources president and chief executive officer Terry D. Hildestad beginning May 2, 2011 and will be based in Fidelity’s Denver headquarters.

“Kent has an outstanding combination of expertise, experience and leadership that will help significantly accelerate Fidelity’s growth and enable it to continue providing balance to our diversified business strategy,” Hildestad said. “He has a strong track record in natural gas and oil production, including shale formations similar to our current development focus. He also has firsthand experience in the Rockies and Texas, where a large portion of Fidelity’s reserves are concentrated.

“We also are impressed with Kent’s success in transforming natural gas and oil businesses and delivering significant growth in production and earnings. We are excited to have Kent lead the strong team already in place at Fidelity and guide our investment of approximately $1 billion over the next three years to develop existing reserves,” Hildestad said. “We are prepared to supplement this investment if the opportunity arises to acquire additional reserves or producing properties.”

“This is a particularly exciting opportunity,” Wells said. “With Fidelity’s talented team, a strong asset base to grow from and MDU Resources’ financial commitment, I am confident that we can create significant long-term value growth at Fidelity.”

Wells, 54, was senior vice president of exploration and production for BP’s U.S. natural gas operations from 2007 until late last year, when he was named BP’s group senior vice president for global deepwater response. He was responsible for BP’s onshore natural gas business throughout the U.S., encompassing both exploration and production, and midstream business. BP is one of the largest oil and natural gas producers in the U.S.

His prior accomplishments include the growth of BP’s Rocky Mountain assets, forming and leading a joint venture that was the largest natural gas producer at that time in the Texas Panhandle, and managing BP’s shallow water natural gas business in the Gulf of Mexico. He also was general manager for the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO), one of the larger oil companies in the Middle East in which BP has a 9.5 percent ownership. His success in each of these assignments included significant improvements in safety performance.

Steven L. Bietz, president and chief executive officer of WBI Holdings, Inc., will continue his focus on growing the company’s pipeline and energy services business.

“Steve’s leadership and experience will help us take advantage of growth opportunities that exist in both North Dakota’s Bakken and Wyoming’s Niobrara regions, as well as maintain the strong integration with our entire natural gas and oil business,” Hildestad said.

Fidelity, a subsidiary of MDU Resources, is engaged in natural gas and oil acquisition, exploration, development and production activities in the Rocky Mountain and Mid-Continent regions of the U.S. As of Dec. 31, 2010, Fidelity has 646 Bcfe of proved natural gas and oil reserves.

MDU Resources Group, Inc., a Fortune 500 company and a member of the S&P MidCap 400 index, provides value-added natural resource products and related services that are essential to energy and transportation infrastructure, including regulated businesses, an exploration and production company and construction companies. MDU Resources includes regulated electric and natural gas utilities and regulated natural gas pipelines and energy services, natural gas and oil production, construction materials and contracting, and construction services. For more information about MDU Resources, see the company's Web site at www.mdu.com or contact the Investor Relations Department at investor@mduresources.com.

The information in this release includes certain forward-looking statements, including statements by Terry D. Hildestad and Kent Wells, within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Although the company believes that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, actual results may differ materially. For a discussion of important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements, refer to Item 1A – Risk Factors in MDU Resources’ most recent Form 10-K.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=6644675&lang=en

Contacts

MDU Resources Group, Inc.
Financial:
Phyllis A. Rittenbach, 701-530-1057
director – investor relations
or
Media:
Rick Matteson, 701-530-1700
director of communications and public affairs

Kent Wells (Photo: Business Wire)

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Release Summary

MDU Resources Group, Inc. today announced that industry veteran J. Kent Wells will become president and chief executive officer of the corporation's natural gas and oil production business.

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Contacts

MDU Resources Group, Inc.
Financial:
Phyllis A. Rittenbach, 701-530-1057
director – investor relations
or
Media:
Rick Matteson, 701-530-1700
director of communications and public affairs