Our History


Zavanna, LLC was founded in 1994 to leverage a unique computer-based technology for oil and gas exploration, development and acquisitions. This proprietary technology was incorporated into The ExplorationStation, and was the result of a 16-year multidisciplinary effort. The power of the technology was in its unique ability to integrate several types of databases and to apply statistical analysis in a very compressed time frame. This allowed our expert users to perform unbiased and exhaustive quantitative analysis of geological, geophysical, engineering and production data compiled for large geographically defined areas of up to 30,000 wells, or areas defined by a trend, play or concept. It gave Zavanna, and its joint venture partners, the capability to conduct new exploration in existing producing areas, unmatched by any other oil and gas company.

Zavanna pursued a strategy of forming strategic alliances, joint ventures or joint exploration agreements with industry partners designed to complement the technology. Joint ventures were formed during the late 1990s in portions of East and West Texas, the Anadarko Basin of Oklahoma, Florida, the Williston Basin of North Dakota, and Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada.

In early 2000, Zavanna concentrated its efforts in the Williston Basin of North Dakota to develop two of its significant discoveries: the Foreman Butte Field and the Briar Creek Field. In 2005, Zavanna sold a portion of its leasehold to Brigham in an effort to develop Bakken production. In the fall of 2008, Zavanna drilled its first two operated wells, which together have produced a total cumulative value of nearly 300,000 barrels of oil.

Between 2011 and 2014, Zavanna helped start Liberty Oilfield Services and River Bend Oil & Gas and became part owner of 1804 LTD, a gas processing facility in North Dakota. This strategic activity fortified Zavanna’s vertically integrated operating model. Zavanna successfully implemented a new artificial lift technique in 2014, pioneering the way forward for new methods, and infill drilling began shortly thereafter in several prospects.

In 2018, Zavanna began the process of transitioning to an employee-owned model. Through a Profits Interest Program, employees now share in the benefits of company growth without being exposed to the associated risk of loss and liability. This transition is expected to be complete by 2022, at which point Zavanna will be employee-owned. This new structure better reflects Zavanna’s employee-centered culture and the core tenet that everyone should care passionately about the company’s success.


Our Name


Starting a company is full of dreams and pitfalls and we tried to capture this state of mind in the name Zavanna. The word Zavanna is inspired by the word savanna and its reference in Bernard DeVoto’s book, Across the Wide Missouri. One only has to replace fabled lands and the riches that lie just over the horizon, with words like Prospects, Discoveries, DSTs and Dry Holes to capture the essence of Zavanna.

"It was a word of poetry and power. A savanna was of the mind only, of the mind’s edge, of fantasy. It suggested meadows in sunlight, groves beside streams, something lovely and rich and distant. While the pioneer was still in the piedmont, savannas were what you would see from the Cumberland Mountains when you looked down into a country still mostly fable, Kentucky. The Spanish sailors with bearded lips found savannas in Florida as long as that province too remained fable. The trouble was that Florida and Kentucky came out of fable, came out of it diminished by fact, and savannas moved on west."

Across the Wide Missouri, Bernard DeVoto,
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Copyright 1947


Our Vision


Zavanna’s focus has never been on short-term gains or rapid success. Rather, our vision reaches much further and is the reason we choose to operate differently. We’ve achieved our success one step and one relationship at a time, taking action today that ensures a bright and sustainable tomorrow. Whether it’s engaging with the local community or leveraging innovative techniques to minimize impacts on the environment, Zavanna strives for excellence in every aspect of operations.

Our Corporate Social Responsibility program is an integral part of company culture. Each year, Zavanna participates in outreach and philanthropic activities designed to strengthen the local community. We work with Habitat for Humanity and support the 4-H Youth Development Program in North Dakota. We look forward to forging new relationships for many years to come.

As our name suggests, we find inspiration in the great natural resources of North Dakota. We carefully manage our role of harnessing raw energy while also respecting the native areas in which we operate. In 2013, Zavanna responded proactively to strict flaring regulations set forth by North Dakota government. Rather than simply meeting the requirements established for 2014, Zavanna exceeded 2024 levels, operating at a pace 10 years ahead of the curve. We strictly adhere to all air quality and environmental regulations and minimize surface disturbances at drilling sites.

Asset 2aboutgraph1,600,0001,400,0001,200,0001,000,000800,000600,000400,000200,000080%70%60%50%40%30%20%10%0%Zavanna Flare Gas (mcl)Zavanna Total Produced Gas (mcl)Zavanna Flaring Percentage (%)NDIC Flared Gas Limit (%)1804 Gas Plant Startup

Zavanna’s monthly flaring percentage has decreased consistently since late 2014 while gas production has steadily increased. Zavanna continues to operate below the flared gas limit established by the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC).