Who we are

President and CEO, Co-Founder, Director
Richard Schmitt
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President and CEO, Co-Founder, Director
Richard Schmitt

Petroleum Geologist with 40 years of experience in exploring for, finding and developing oil and gas around the world. Much of the last 20 years spent in East Africa where he has passionately pursued exploration of this emerging petroleum province. With Occidental for 20 years, credited with discovering the Saltire Field in the North Sea and spending the last 5 as President of Occidental Yemen where further discoveries were made and brought into production within two years. Following his time at Oxy, became the first CEO of Africa Oil upon its formation in early 2006. Assembled Africa Oil’s successful East African portfolio, including Block 10BB, where first oil was discovered in Kenya. In 2009, he became CEO of Black Marlin which he successfully led through an IPO and the subsequent takeover by Afren plc. Founder, CEO and Director of Octant Energy.

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Executive Director & Founder
J. Christopher McLean
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Executive Director & Founder
J. Christopher McLean

Mr. McLean has 17 years of experience financing  and supporting oil and gas projects around the world with a focus on Africa. His current firm, Stonechair Capital Corporation, a private equity venture capital firm, has been working with Africa based energy assets since 2009. In that time he has been a part of a number of successful public and private endeavours. Prior to Stonechair, Chris was the head of Investment Banking at Wolverton Securities. Here, he worked with Africa Oil and Turkana Drilling on Block 10BB in Kenya where he first met Rick Schmitt. Once also the VP of International Opportunites at Research Capital Corp., he financed assets throughout MENA and Sub-Saharan Africa. Recently, he served as a director and then the CFO of a LSE and a TSXV listed company with assets in West Africa. In 2011, Chris co-founded Octant Energy to continue the pursuit of attractive assets in East Africa.

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Chief Financial Officer
Barry Sadrehashemi
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Chief Financial Officer
Barry Sadrehashemi

Mr. Sadrehashemi was admitted to membership of the Institute of Chartered Accountant in England and Wales in 1971. He immigrated to Canada in 1981 and started to work at the Office of Auditor General of Alberta. In 1985 he Joined ATB Financial as manager of their audit department. He later on was promoted to the VP external sales delivery with ATB Financial looking after credit card division as well as Internet banking development. He Joined Arakis Energy Corporation an International oil & gas exploration company which owned the original Sudan PSA as corporate controller in 1997. Worked with the other partners in the project CNPC, Petronas and Sudapet as well as the Sudanese government, to ensure work programs were completed and financial obligations met. When Arakis was acquired by Talisman Energy in 1998 he was asked to join Talisman Energy Corporation to help them with the transition. Mr. Sadrehashemi joined Haskayne School of Business in 1999, to teach academic undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Between 1999 and 2013 he was also CFO of three start-up companies in areas of medical technology, telecommunication infrastructure and oil & gas exploration. He joined Octant as CFO in March, 2013.

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Non-Executive Director
Stephen Foss
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Non-Executive Director
Stephen Foss

Mr Foss has over 32 years of experience in the capital markets industry, having spent his career in Australia, Canada and the UK. He previously led the Royal Bank of Canada’s International Equities business for Europe and Austral-Asia, prior to joining its global investment banking division in February 2011 to concentrate on senior client coverage, Sovereign Wealth Funds and origination in the natural resources sector. Since 2015 he has been a Partner with Merlin Partners LLP, a UK merchant banking boutique focussed on Emerging Markets and the resources sector. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours from the University of Western Ontario, Mr Foss began his career at the Sydney Stock Exchange and subsequently held a number of senior management positions with another global investment bank. He is a Non-Executive Director of Amerisur Resources PLC, Colombian E&P.

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Chairman of the Board
John Taylor
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Chairman of the Board
John Taylor

Mr Taylor has 30 years’ experience in the international oil and gas industry and an MSc from the University of London. He started his career as a geophysicist with Amerada Hess in the UK before moving to Clyde Petroleum plc where he was involved in international exploration in the Far East, Middle East and Australia including operational postings to both Yemen and Myanmar. He relocated to Perth in 1998 to take up the role of Technical Director at Fusion Oil & Gas plc which built an extensive deepwater portfolio focused on Northwest and West Africa. Fusion was listed on the UK AIM market in 2000 and made several discoveries offshore Mauritania before being sold in 2003. Following the sale of Fusion, Mr Taylor, was one of the two founding executive directors of Ophir Energy plc which listed on the main board of the LSE in 2011, serving initially as its Technical Director. Ophir was responsible for multiple large discoveries in deepwater Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania. Mr Taylor retired from the Ophir Board in 2013.

Mr Taylor currently serves as Technical Director of ASX-Listed Canadian E&P Calima Energy Ltd and is a non-executive director of Tanzanian helium explorer Helium One Ltd.

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Director
Trevor Peters
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Director
Trevor Peters

Mr. Peters is President and CEO of Torenco Energy Inc., a company focused on business development in upstream oil and gas. Prior thereto, Mr. Peters was Chief Financial Officer of Caracal Energy Inc., a LSE listed company with operations in southern Chad. Prior to Caracal, Mr. Peters was a co-founder and Vice President of Business Development at Orion Oil & Gas Corporation, a TSX listed company with operations in Alberta, Canada. Previously, Mr. Peters was a co-founder and Vice President of Business Development at Waseca Energy Inc., a private heavy oil company based in Lloydminster, Alberta. Mr. Peters has a Bachelor of Mathematics (Honours) from the University of Waterloo.

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Director
Wishart Robson
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Director
Wishart Robson

Mr. Robson retired from Nexen in 2014. His working career spanned 45 years, the last 17 supporting Nexen’s international operations and special assignments from the Executive offices. Prior to that, Mr. Robson spent two years with Halliburton in Nigeria and 15 years with Petro-Canada in the Frontier and International division. Mr. Robson has worked in more than 60 countries on six continents, primarily on upstream exploration and development projects where he focused on business development, government relations, regulatory approvals and operational support. Mr. Robson completed the Institute of Corporate Directors course at the University of Calgary and has been a frequent presenter and commentator on subjects at the intersection of environment, energy and the economy.

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