PetroSearch adds technical professionals; company continues to pursue opportunity flow

Aug. 1, 2005
PetroSearch Energy Corp. has hired five experienced professionals in the areas of geology, engineering, land, and production operations.

PetroSearch Energy Corp. has hired five experienced professionals in the areas of geology, engineering, land, and production operations. Wayne A. Beninger was appointed vice president and COO. He is both a petroleum engineer and a geologist, with almost 30 years in the oil and gas business. He was the founder of Dallas-based Southwest Oil and Gas Management Inc. Before that, Beninger held positions at WRT Energy and the Scotia Group.

John F. Sobehrad, an exploration and production geologist, was appointed manager of geology for PetroSearch. He has been serving the company as a consultant and has 25 years experience in the industry. He is responsible for discoveries in the Serpentine, Austin, and Buda reservoirs in Central Texas and Miocene-Frio-Yegua Gas Trend in South Texas, as well as a major discovery in Morocco.

Another company consultant to be appointed is Bennett A. Thomas, a petroleum engineer with experience in engineering and geologic evaluation of oil and gas properties. He was appointed manager of engineering. Thomas previously served as executive vice president, director, and CFO of Hall-Houston Oil Co., and before that, served with Mobil Oil Corp., Superior Oil Co., Mark Producing, and Edisto Resources.

Petroleum engineer David Arndt has been named manager of drilling and operations. He was previously a consultant with Southwest Oil and Gas Management and has over 30 years experience. Prior to Southwest Oil and Gas, he was senior vice president, production operations, for Sundance Resources Inc.

PetroSearch also named Shellie M. Hayes, a Certified Professional Landman, manager of land. She has been a land management executive since 1985. Most recently she was a landman with Plains Exploration and Production Co., based in Houston, where she handled the divestiture of over $425 million of producing properties.

PetroSearch, a Nevada corporation with executive offices in Houston, sources oil and gas prospects and development talent by means of a business model designed to attract independent producers who have knowledge of overlooked, undeveloped, or underdeveloped oil and gas reserves. Through a joint interest arrangement, PetroSearch provides management oversight, and technical input.

SPI Petroleum names George Fastuca CFO

Click here to enlarge image

Oklahoma City-based SPI Petroleum LLC, a nationwide independent marketer of petroleum products, has hired George Fastuca as the company’s inaugural CFO. Formerly with Exxon and Northern Natural Gas & Transwestern Pipeline Co., Fastuca is responsible for financial controls and reporting, as well as taking a lead role in strategic planning and the execution of SPI’s acquisition growth strategy. Most recently, he served as vice president - finance and systems for Northern Natural Gas & Transwestern Pipeline Co. where he directed all finance, systems, and administrative functions, including strategic planning, integration, accounting, and asset disposal. Before that he spent 11 years in various finance and accounting functions at Exxon, where he progressed to controller for international crude and product trading. Fastuca is a Certified Public Accountant and earned his undergraduate degree from Cornell, MBA from UC-Berkeley, and PhD from the University of Houston.

Board elects Rasmussen new CFO of Gateway Energy

Gateway Energy Corp.’s board of directors elected Christopher Rasmussen as the company’s CFO. The position had been vacant since November 2004. Gateway owns and operates natural gas gathering, transportation and distribution systems, and related facilities in Texas and Oklahoma and offshore in Texas and federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The company also holds a license for a patented process for the rejection of nitrogen from natural gas streams.

Jennings replaces Edwards as Frontier CFO; Aron is new VP of corporate finance

Michael C. Jennings has been appointed the new executive vice president and CFO of Frontier Oil Corp. He replaces Julie Edwards who resigned her post May 31. Jennings reports to the Houston-based position with 18 years experience in finance and acquisitions with Unimin Corp., British Petroleum, and US Trust Co. of New York. He was most recently vice president and treasurer at Cooper Cameron Corp. Jennings holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and a BA from Dartmouth College. In related news, Douglas S. Aron was recently promoted to the newly-created position of vice president - corporate finance. He will report to the new CFO. Aron has served as director - investor relations for Frontier since 2001. Before that he was a commercial lending officer for Amegy Bank. He holds an MBA from the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University and a BJ degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Frontier operates a 110,000 b/d refinery in El Dorado, Kan., and a 46,000 b/d refinery in Cheyenne, Wyo., and markets its refined products principally along the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains and in neighboring plains states. The company just recorded its most profitable first quarter in company history. This record quarter is a result of the continued strength of crude oil differentials, significant improvement in the diesel crack spread, and a decrease in interest expense.

GlobalSanteFe promotes Ralls to COO, Dawson to CFO, Herrin to VP and controller

Click here to enlarge image

Worldwide oil and gas drilling contractor GlobalSanteFe Corp. has named W. Matt Ralls as executive vice president and COO, Michael R. Dawson was promoted to senior vice president and CFO, and Robert L. Herrin Jr. moves into the vice president and controller position. Ralls joined Global Marine Inc. in 1997 and moved through the ranks until the November 2001 merger that created GlobalSanteFe. His most recent role was that of senior vice president and CFO. He formerly held executive positions at two publicly traded oil and gas companies and various management positions in commercial banking. Dawson has served as vice president and controller since July 2003. He formerly held financial and investor relations management positions with Union Texas Petroleum and Shell Oil. Herrin joined the company’s internal audit staff in 1989 and held positions of increasing responsibility before his promotion to vice president of audit in 2002. Before that he spent nine years at Tenneco Oil Co. GlobalSanteFe is a worldwide offshore oil and gas drilling contractor offering a full range of equipment and drilling management services.

Victor Burke joins Spencer Stuart

Click here to enlarge image

Effective August 1, Victor Burke joins the Houston office of Spencer Stuart. He joins the team as a search consultant and as the global leader of the company’s energy industry practice. Burke has served the oil and gas industry for 33 years as a public accountant and consultant. Prior to joining Spencer Stuart, Burke served at Arthur Andersen, and most recently, as global chairman of Deloitte & Touche LLP’s oil and gas group. Burke holds a BBA degree from Stephen F. Austin State University. Among his professional affiliations are the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Houston Producers Forum, Independent Petroleum Association of America, National Petroleum Council, and Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association. Founded in 1956, Spencer Stuart is a privately held, global executive search firm, with 50 offices in 25 countries.

Westside Energy Corp. adds Austin as VP, controller

Click here to enlarge image

Westside Energy Corp., an oil and gas company with operations focused on the acquisition, exploration, and development of natural gas and oil in the Barnett Shale play in North Texas, announced that Sean Austin has joined the company as vice president and controller. Prior to joining Westside, Austin spent 23 years with Amerada Hess, holding senior management positions in the New York and Houston offices. Before that, Austin was an officer in the United States Navy. He holds a BA from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Houston-based Westside Energy is an oil and gas company focused on exploiting its 64,297 gross acres in the Barnett Shale trend in North Texas.

McDermott names Michael Taff VP and CAO

Click here to enlarge image

Michael S. Taff has joined McDermott International Inc. as vice president and chief accounting officer. Taff, who has nearly 21 years of financial and business advisory experience in both corporate and public accounting, comes to McDermott from HMT Inc. where he served as vice president and CFO. Prior to HMT, Taff was vice president and corporate controller with Philip Services Corp. He holds a BBA in accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant. McDermott International is a worldwide energy services company. Its subsidiaries provide engineering, fabrication, installation, procurement, research, manufacturing, environmental systems, project management, and facility management services to a variety of customers in the energy and power industries, including the US Department of Energy.

CLNG appoints Cooper executive director

William S. Cooper III, a partner at Hunton & Williams LLP in Washington, DC, has been named executive director of the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas (CLNG). Cooper has 20 years experience in the energy industry. Prior to joining Hunton & Williams, he served as counsel to the US House Energy and Commerce Committee. Earlier in his career, he was general counsel for a natural gas utility company. He was a drafter and lead negotiator for the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002 and was also a lead negotiator for the House on several provisions of the energy bills in the 107th and 108th Congresses. CLNG has more than 70 members, including LNG asset owners and operators, gas transporters, and natural gas end users. The center is committed to market-based policies and the expansion and diversification of natural gas supplies.

Yoram Shoham appointed new director at Veritas

Click here to enlarge image

Veritas has appointed Yoram Shoham to the company’s board of directors. Shoham is currently an oil and gas industry consultant. From 1983 until 2004, Shoham was employed by Shell Oil Co. and Royal Dutch Shell and their affiliated companies in a variety of roles. Most recently he was vice president - external technology relations and consultant to Shell International Exploration & Production Inc. He was appointed to fill a newly created board position. His appointment brings the number of company directors to nine. Veritas, headquartered in Houston, is a leading provider of integrated geophysical, geological, and reservoir technologies to the petroleum industry worldwide.

Colorado Oil & Gas adds advisors, consultants to drive new project

Colorado Oil and Gas Inc., a subsidiary of Arete Industries Inc., has appointed three new outside directors, two oil and gas industry professionals, and a CPA to its team as professional advisors and consultants to drive its new oil and gas acquisition and development project in eastern Colorado. Arete also has acquired an additional equity interest in its Colorado Oil and Gas Inc. subsidiary, bringing its total interest to 85 percent.

Charles R. Davis, Donald R. O’Connor, and Stanley J. Phillips were named independent directors of the company, and Gerald F. Dickinson, consulting petroleum engineer, Joseph L. Sweeney, independent consulting geologist, and Donald W. Prosser, CPA, have also been appointed as professional advisors to the company. John R. Herzog resigned from the subsidiary’s board of directors, leaving a five-man board with three independent directors. Herzog will remain with the subsidiary company serving as senior vice president and company secretary. Davis, with over 25 years’ experience in oil and gas drilling and operations, is owner of DNR Oil and Gas Co. O’Connor, who will serve as the company’s financial expert and audit committee chairman, is a licensed CPA who comes from the commercial real estate development business, and will bring financial acquisition and project development expertise to the company’s board of directors. Phillips is an oil and gas attorney and landman with extensive experience in oil and gas operations, mineral title and lease evaluation, and property acquisition and divestiture projects. Dickinson is a consulting petroleum engineer with over 23 years of oil and gas industry experience.

He will provide economic evaluations and reserve estimates for the company’s current and future oil and gas acquisition and development operations. Sweeney, with over 23 years’ experience as an independent petroleum geologist in numerous Rocky Mountain, Mid-Continent and other major US oil producing regions, will help the company develop the current project and help make future strategic acquisition and development decisions. Prosser, who also serves as outside director and financial expert of the board and chairman of its audit committee, will provide corporate finance, oil and gas accounting and deal structuring input to the company as it executes its toll out as an independent oil and gas producer. Arete industries is a publicly traded holding company with several subsidiaries. Its subsidiary, Colorado Oil and Gas, was formed to pursue the acquisition of certain small producing oil and gas properties in eastern Colorado in November 2004.

Stockholders re-elect Wallace and White-Thomson to Kerr-McGee board

Wallace, White-Thomson
Click here to enlarge image

Stockholders of Kerr-McGee Corp. re-elected William F. Wallace and Ian L. White-Thomson to the board of directors. Wallace, retired vice-chairman of Barrett Resources Corp., and White-Thomson, retired chairman of US Borax Inc. and retired executive director of the Los Angeles Opera, will each serve a three-year term. Kerr-McGee is an Oklahoma City-based energy and inorganic chemical company with worldwide operations and assets of more than $14 billion.

Joe Winkler resigns from National Oilwell Varco

Joseph C. Winkler resigned his position as executive vice president and COO of National Oilwell Varco Inc. to join Complete Energy Services Inc. as its president and CEO. Merril A. “Pete” Miller Jr., National Oilwell Varco’s president and CEO, will assume operational responsibility of the company’s businesses. “He was integral to the merger between National Oilwell and Varco and helped lay the groundwork for a successful combination,” said Miller about Winkler. “He takes with him the leadership and ability to profitably guide Complete Energy Services into the future.” National Oilwell Varco designs, manufactures, and sells equipment and components used in oil and gas drilling and production operations, and is involved in the provision of oilfield services, and supply chain integration services to the upstream oil and gas industry.

Russell, Moran accept officer appointments from Panhandle Energy

Panhandle Energy, Southern Union Co.’s interstate natural gas pipeline operation, has appointed Michael J. Moran vice president of optimization and logistics, while Gregg E. Russell was named vice president of marketing. Both report to Rob Bond, president and COO. Moran joined the company in 2000, assuming various responsibilities and positions, most recently that of general manager of optimization and marketing operations. He has almost 15 years experience in the natural gas industry and has worked for both Coral Energy Resources and El Paso Corp. Russell was general manager of sales before his new appointment. He joined the company in 1989 as an associate analyst and has moved his way up through the regulatory affairs and marketing departments. Before joining Panhandle, Russell was a rate analyst with United Gas Pipeline. He holds a BA from the University of Houston. Southern Union, headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., is engaged in the transportation, storage, and distribution of natural gas.

Ritzdorf, Pimmel join PRB Gas Transportation

PRB Gas Transportation Inc. has added Paul Ritzdorf and Tim Pimmel as director of business development and director of operations, respectively. The two men previously held similar positions at Bear Paw Energy from which PRB acquired the Gap and Bonepile gathering systems and South Kitty and Antelope Valley delivery lines. Ritzdorf was previously Bear Paw Energy’s manager of business development, and before that was at Texaco Pipeline as a project engineer. He also worked for Enron Broadband Services. He holds a BS from Kansas State University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. Pimmel most recently served Bear Paw Energy as operations director. Earlier in his career, he was with Kinder Morgan’s Denver office as a facility planning engineer. Before that he was with Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America. Pimmel holds a BS from the University of Missouri-Rolla. PRB Gas owns and operates intrastate natural gas gathering systems in the Rocky Mountain area. The company presently owns approximately 200 miles of pipeline and is gathering coal-bed methane gas from more than 450 wells in Wyo.’s Powder River basin.

Garman sworn in as under secretary of energy at DOE

David K. Garman was sworn in June 24 as under secretary of energy for energy, science, and environment at a small ceremony held at the Department of Energy (DOE) headquarters in Washington, DC. Garman was sworn in by Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman after being unanimously confirmed by the US Senate on Wednesday, June 15. As under secretary, Garman is responsible for the energy, science, and environment (ESE) programs at the DOE. ESE embodies nearly $14 billion of work DOE undertakes each year in energy research and development, demonstration, and deployment; environmental cleanup; legacy management; radioactive waste management, and other activities. Garman has served as assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy since 2001, and has served as acting under secretary for the department.

Young resigns as Energas CFO to pursue private practice

Oklahoma City-based Energas Resources Inc. announced that David Young has resigned his position as CFO and director to pursue his independent practice in tax accounting. He will remain available to assist with the transition. While Energas searches for his replacement, Leslie G. Pettitt will serve as the principal financial officer.

Barnabus adds Williams to board, changes name

Tedman M. Williams has been named to Barnabus Enterprises Ltd.’s board of directors. He recently served as consulting CFO of BOTB Corp., a private Canadian holding company that provides information technology services to public companies. Prior to that position, Williams served as a consulting CFO of Rare Method Capital, and CFO of Impact Blue Inc. He received a bachelor of commerce degree from the University of Alberta in Edmonton and also received a chartered accountant designation. Additionally, Barnabus Energy has successfully completed procedures to change its name to Barnabus Energy Inc. to better reflect the mandated conversion into energy sector projects. Barnabus Energy is involved in the exploration and development of oil and natural gas reserves throughout western North America.

Bill Lamkin to retire as executive VP, CFO at Quicksilver Resources

Click here to enlarge image

Quicksilver Resources Inc. announced that executive vice president and CFO, Bill Lamkin, will retire prior to the end of 2005. Lamkin has agreed to defer his retirement date to provide a smooth transition. Ray Partners Inc. will conduct the search to find a new CFO. Lamkin has been executive vice president and CFO of Quicksilver since the company went public in 1999. Fort Worth, Tex.-based Quicksilver Resources is a natural gas and crude oil production company engaged in the development and acquisition of long-lived natural gas and crude oil properties. The company has offices in Fort Worth, Tex.; Granbury, Tex.; Gaylord, Mich.; Corydon, Ind.; and Cut Bank, Mont. Quicksilver also has a Canadian subsidiary, MGV Energy Inc., located in Calgary, Alberta.

Butler elected president and CEO of StarTek

StarTek Inc.’s board of directors named Steven D. Butler as the company’s president and CEO and has elected him as a director of the company. He previously served the company as interim CEO and then as the executive vice president and CFO. Before that, Butler worked as a financial consultant engaged in private practice, served as CFO of Verado Inc., and as managing director of finance and treasurer of United Pan-European Communications NV. StarTek is a provider of business process outsourced services, consisting of business process management and supply chain management services.

New general counsel for Northwest Natural Gas

Margaret D. Kirkpatrick is the new vice president and general counsel at Northwest Natural Gas Co. Before serving as interim general counsel in March, Kirkpatrick had been a partner at the Portland, Ore. office of Stoel Rives. She worked for Northwest Natural on the permitting of the Mist underground storage facilities and the South Mist Pipeline extension, including work on legislative changes, rule making, and the formal permitting process. She graduated from The College of Wooster in 1976 and received her law degree from Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark. She received her LLM from the University of Edinburgh. She currently serves as vice chair of the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission, chair of the State Industrial Lands Conversion Committee, co-chair of the American Wind Energy Association Siting Committee, and serves on the Oregon Economic Development Policy Advisory Committee.

Robert Taylor named to board at Inergy

Robert D. Taylor, a Certified Public Accountant, has been appointed to the board of directors of Inergy GP LLC, the managing general partner of Inergy LP. He will serve on the audit committee. Taylor is the president and CEO of Executive AirShare Corp. based in Kansas City, Mo., and serves as a director on the boards of Commercial Federal Corp., headquartered in Omaha, Neb., and Elecsys Corp., based in Lenexa, Kan.