Board and Management

Leadership Team

Rhett Bennett

Executive Chairman

Mr. Bennett is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Black Mountain. Black Mountain was established in 2007 and today the organization includes several business units: Exploration and Production operations, battery metals mining, commercial saltwater disposal, midstream, in-basin frac sand mining, carbon capturing, and energy storage. Mr. Bennett has served as CEO of Black Mountain since its inception.

In 2017, Black Mountain Oil & Gas sold its New Mexico assets to Marathon Oil Corporation for $700 million. Black Mountain continues to identify opportunities to extract value from asset exploitation and optimization across the E&P sector, both domestically and internationally in Australia.

Beginning in 2017 with a growing supply constraint in the Permian Basin, Mr. Bennett built the Black Mountain Sand business to satisfy a void in the market for high quality, cost-effective in-basin frac sand. Black Mountain Sand has built 6 in-basin frac sand facilities across the U.S., producing quality in-basin sand that provides significant cost savings for E&P operators nationally, while becoming the 3rd largest frac sand company in the world.

Black Mountain Metals was established in 2018 to gain exposure to the rapidly emerging Electric Vehicle revolution, with a focus on natural resources extraction, specifically Class I Nickel Sulphide and Copper. Today, the Perth, Australia headquartered company has ownership in 5 nickel mines and related midstream infrastructure in Western Australia.

Mr. Bennett is a member of many industry organizations, serving as a Board Member of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Fort Worth Wildcatters, the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO), the National Association of Royalty Owners (NARO), the American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL), Young Professionals in Energy (YPE), and the Fort Worth Petroleum Club.

Mr. Bennett has been the recipient of numerous awards in his career: Oil & Gas Investor -Forty under 40, The Oil & Gas Awards – Future Industry Leader, EY Entrepreneur of the Year – Energy Services & National Finalist, and D CEO Magazine – Oilfield Services CEO of the Year.

Mr. Bennett earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Management from the University of Georgia in 2003 and completed the Energy Executive Management Program at the University Of Oklahoma Michael F. Price College of Business in 2012.

Michael Laurent

Chief Operating Officer

Mr. Laurent is a proven leader in successfully developing energy projects, pulling together the many disciplines and expertise required to mature a major development that will ensure BME delivers maximum value for its shareholders. He has been instrumental in numerous successful acquisition and divestiture efforts and the drilling and fracture stimulation of hundreds of wells leading to discoveries and basin opening efforts.

Mr. Laurent is a professional engineer and senior executive with over 25 years of international oil and gas experience. He brings substantial expertise in reservoir, drilling, facilities, production optimization and operations with particular emphasis on resource and business development. He comes from his current role as Chief Operating Officer at Armour Energy, where he provided leadership and direction across all exploration and development efforts and assumed responsibility for site operations and Environmental Health and Safety.

Mr. Laurent has a unique and extensive understanding of the petroleum industry having started his career with service companies and then progressing to energy producers - Encana Corporation, Murphy Oil, Santos and Armour Energy. Mr. Laurent’s experience is underpinned with strong strategic, commercial, and technical acumen in both conventional and unconventional reservoirs. He is known for his people centric leadership approach and building high performing teams.

Samantha Richardson

Non-Executive Director

With over 25 years of experience working in the exploration and mining sectors in Australia, Ms. Richardson is a highly motivated and dedicated mining professional specializing in sales, marketing, and offtake contracts.

During Ms. Richardson’s career she has been directly responsible for regulatory and social licensing, offtake marketing, contract negotiation, procurement, execution and administration, shipping and logistics, HR, IT, strategy, and leadership. Commodity sales have included copper cathode, copper concentrate, copper cement, antimony, gold and silver, as well as various reagents.

Ms. Richardson also brings extensive senior management and cross-functional commercial, human resources, information technology, strategy and leadership experience to the Black Mountain team. She holds an MBA from The Australian Institute of Management and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Peter Cramer

Non-Executive Director

Mr. Cramer has 20+ years of global experience leading upstream oil and gas exploration projects including 15 years in Exploration management roles for ConocoPhillips.

Mr. Cramer’s career spans nearly 40 years, beginning with Gulf Oil as a geophysicist working on projects including the first offshore 3D survey in Angola. Next, his career took him to Geosource working on vertical seismic profile applications and then to Shell where he worked as a seismic crew party chief and interpreter involved in expanding the use of 3D data onshore and in deep water. At British-Borneo Exploration, he was involved in the first use of mini tension lag platforms for deepwater field development. Mr. Cramer’s career then led him into management starting at Phillips Petroleum (now ConocoPhillips) where, over 18 years, he held exploration and technology management roles including exploration manager Gulf of Mexico, global geophysical technology manager, U.S. onshore exploration manager, global exploration portfolio manager, and global new ventures exploration manager. Mr. Cramer joined Devon Energy in 2018 where he was vice president of exploration and reservoir technology. In April 2019, he founded the Pc Advisory Group to provide consulting services to the upstream exploration and production sector.

Mr. Cramer became a director of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) Foundation in 2015 and served as treasurer from 2018-2020, helping the Foundation contribute more than US$11 million in support of SEG programs. He holds patents in 4D acquisition and hydraulic fracturing monitoring.

Mr. Cramer earned a BS in physics from Rice University in 1981 and joined SEG in 1984. He is also a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and is currently a Non Executive Director for SAExploration, a privately held seismic services company.

Marie Malaxos

Non-Executive Director

Ms. Malaxos is a professional executive in the resources sector for over 25 years including formally serving as COO of Buru Energy. She has experience managing all aspects of the development and operation of oil and gas fields including commercial and budget control, technical oversight, stakeholder management and liaison, heritage and native title negotiation, environmental management, health and safety management, and assessment of assets for sale and purchase.

For over 10 years, in parallel with her executive career, Ms. Malaxos has transitioned to a career as a non-executive director for Bombora Natural Energy before being voted by shareholders to the board of directors for Pancontinental Energy NL. Her involvement includes stewardship of major infrastructure projects, chair of audit committee, chair of an industry association, and the introduction of governance systems to a sporting organization.

Sara Kelly

Non-Executive Director

Ms. Kelly has significant transactional and industry experience having both worked in private practice as a corporate advisor and as in-house counsel. She regularly acts for ASX listed companies and their directors and officers in relation to capital raisings recapitalizations of ASX shells, asset acquisitions and disposals, Corporations Act and Listing Rules compliance, corporate reconstructions and insolvency, and directors’ duties, meeting procedure, and general corporates and commercial advice.

Ms. Kelly acquired a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce in Finance and Marketing from the University of Notre Dame Australia. She is a Partner at Edwards Mac Scovell Legal, a boutique litigation, insolvency and corporate firm based in Perth, Western Australia. Ms. Kelly is Non-Executive Chair of both Midas Minerals Ltd. and Wiluna Mining.

Alan Cooper

Chief Financial Officer and Joint Company Secretary

Alan Cooper is a chartered accountant with 20 years of experience working in the oil and gas industry in both operated and non-operated settings. He is a positive business leader with a skillset developed through exposure to varied business models and mentoring by highly regarded experts in the oil and gas industry.

Mr. Cooper has held senior finance roles in public listed and private companies in Australia and UK, ranging from SME to Multinational organizations. He has been actively involved in M&A transactions covering asset and corporate acquisitions with a combined value exceeding US$1.2 billion to date.

Ben Donovan

Joint Company Secretary

Chartered secretary and member of the Governance Institute of Australia

Served as Sr. Advisor on the ASX and managed listing of 100 companies in three years.

Provides corporate advisory, IPO and consultancy services.

Currently Company Secretary of several ASX listed and public unlisted.

Advisors

Murphy Markham

Senior Advisor

Mr. Markham’s Texas roots run deep, from his education and throughout every stop in his remarkable career. After earning a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Texas Tech University, he began his career with Republic Bank. Mr. Markham also attended night school in those early days, eventually earning an MBA in Accounting from the University of Houston.

Mr. Markham worked at Bank of America for over two decades, having a front-row seat as the industry evolved from commercial lending into investment banking. His career path followed a similar evolutionary path, transitioning from exclusively lending to the oil and gas sector to helping the firm build out an investment banking group in 2000.

Afterward, Mr. Markham left Bank of America to run the oil and gas group for Bank One, aggressively building out its portfolio of oil and gas energy companies before JP Morgan acquired them in 2004. Once again, Mr. Markham led the firm’s national oil and gas energy finance group, bringing his total tenure in commercial and investment banking to that point – exclusively in the energy sector – to 25 years.

In 2006, Mr. Markham made a career change, joining EnCap Investments, a private equity firm focusing on the upstream and midstream oil and gas space. Over 15 years, he moved from managing director to partner to managing partner and would ultimately play critical roles in seven E&P funds and four midstream funds.

Lee Marshall

Commercial Advisor

Mr. Marshall is a values-driven commercial and finance executive with 25 years in the oil and gas industry and leadership experience that includes ASX100 C-level Executive and International Country Manager positions.

Over a career spanning the entire value chain, Mr. Marshall has developed and demonstrated extensive capability, including exemplary leadership of board-level decision processes, expert negotiator and strategist, and deep technical expertise in commercial/economic analysis. He also possesses comprehensive knowledge of commercial agreements and relationships between key value and risk-allocation provisions.

Notable achievements include:

  • Commercial integration of a company-transformative $1.5 billion acquisition
  • Commercial leadership of investment in one of the world’s largest Carbon Capture and Storage projects
  • >$3 billion of completed acquisitions and divestments
  • Exploration acreage acquisitions in over ten countries spanning five continents
  • $2.5 billion equity accelerated renounceable entitlement offer (AREO)
  • >$3 billion of syndicated loans and 144A bond issuances.

Technical Team

Jarvis 'Jay' Moore, P.G.

Chief Geoscientist

Jarvis serves as Chief Geoscientist for Black Mountain Energy. Mr. Moore has over 24 years of diversified Geological experience in the upstream Oil and Gas industry including positions with companies such as XTO Energy, Clearfork Resources, and Encore Acquisitions Company. His experience includes prospect generation, planning, and drilling oversight of hundreds of vertical and horizontal wellbores in both conventional and unconventional plays (Wolfcamp, Bone Spring, Barnett Shale, Haynesville, Cotton Valley and more)

Mr. Moore is a licensed Professional Geoscientist in the state of Texas and a SIPES Certified Earth Scientist. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Geology from Georgia Southern University and a Master of Science in Geology from Texas Christian University.

In addition to being a past-president and current member of the Fort Worth Geological Society, he is an active member of both the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) and the Society of Independent Professional Earth Scientists (SIPES).

George Witman

Vice President of Drilling & Completions

George serves as the Vice President of Drilling and Completions for Black Mountain Energy. George has over 20 years of experience in the Oil and Gas industry.

Prior to joining Black Mountain, George spent over 13 years with EOG Resources in a variety of drilling, completions, and managerial roles.

George holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University.

Perry Richmond

Vice President of Reservoir Engineering

Perry serves as Vice President of Reservoir Engineering for Black Mountain Energy. Perry has over 35 years of Reservoir and Engineering experience in the Oil and Gas industry, predominantly at Pioneer.

He has managerial and technical experience in enhanced oil recovery, business development, and reservoir engineering.

Perry holds a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering from Texas A&M.

Brent Smith

Vice President of Production

Brent serves as the Vice President of Production for Black Mountain Energy. Brent has over 24 years of experience in the Oil and Gas industry, including various engineering and managerial roles.

At Devon Energy, Brent worked conventional and unconventional assets across the United States primarily in an operational capacity.

Brent holds a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering from Colorado School of Mines and an MBA from Oklahoma University Price School of Business.

Mark Mueller

Drilling Supervisor

Mark serves as the Drilling Supervisor for Black Mountain Energy after spending 7 years with BHP Billiton. He held roles in engineering and operations supervision across the Drilling and Completions function and has planned and executed drilling projects in North American Shale, Australia, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Mark holds a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering from Texas A&M.