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Chief Executive Officer

Richard Kirkland

Richard’s 30 years of experience in oil and gas operations has been integral to Cantium’s creation and following success.  Richard’s hands-on leadership has promoted transparency and an efficient, collaborative culture throughout the growing company. Prior to founding Cantium with Mark Smithard, he held various senior management positions at Baker Hughes with 15 years of international assignments in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. He began his career as a wireline engineer for Western Atlas working in East Texas and South Louisiana before moving to Aberdeen, Scotland. He graduated with an BSc in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from Dundee University, Scotland. He is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

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Exploration Director

Mark Smithard

Mark has spent his entire 33-year career in the oil and gas business, enjoying international success across six continents with Ensign Geophysics, Texaco, and Chevron. His experience covers R&D, Exploration, Field Development, Base Business Management, and New Business Development, with discoveries and negotiated deals amounting to several billion barrels. Mr. Smithard earned a BSc in Geology and Physics from Coleg Prifysgol Cymru, Aberystwyth, his MSc in Sedimentology from the University of London, and his MBA from Texas A&M. His research, published by AAPG, SPE, and Africa Geoscience, et al, has covered the full range of industry activity, from innovative techniques in data imaging to behavioral economics in investment decision making.

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Chief Financial Officer

Ken Beer

Ken has 35 years of experience in the energy sector.  Before joining Cantium, Ken was the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Stone Energy for 13 years where he was the primary contact for equity and fixed debt investors and the Stone bank group.  As CFO, he executed numerous capital markets equity and debt offerings and negotiated several bank credit facilities.   Before Stone Energy, Ken was a Partner, Director of Research and Senior Energy Analyst with Johnson Rice for 13 years, following 20-25 E&P companies and was named All-Star Analyst by the WSJ numerous times.  Additionally, before joining Johnson Rice, he was an Analyst and Investment Banker with Howard Weil, an Analyst with Wood Mackenzie and an Analyst with The Boston Consulting Group.  Ken earned his Bachelors in Economics from Dartmouth College and his MBA from Stanford University. 

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