Mennta Energy Solutions' faculty are preeminent professionals offering extensive experience and remain actively engaged in their respective specialties. They are dedicated to providing world-class energy education and training.
Please click on a name below to view their biography.
ALAN HERBST is a Principal with Utilis Advisory Group, a firm providing strategic advisory and consulting services to the energy sector. Mr. Herbst has over 25 years of energy experience. His specializations include analysis of market fundamentals, related energy infrastructure buildout, pricing mechanisms, commercial trading and risk management opportunities.
Mr. Herbst expertise covers oil, natural gas and power markets. In recent years, he has focused his efforts on unconventional upstream development (shale gas and tight oil), LNG, oil sands, nuclear power, distributed generation and related environmental and regulatory issues.
Shale Gas/Tight Oil
Alan has considerable shale expertise. He can discuss the geology of the various North American shale fields (Haynesville, Marcellus, Utica, Bakken, Barnett, Horn River, Fayetteville, Woodford, Eagle Ford, Permian), well costs, production rates, hydraulic fracturing techniques, environmental regulation, estimated ultimate recovery rates (EUR), natural gas break even costs, royalty trends, foreign investment and how companies are modifying their production strategies and future development plans in a low cost gas environment. In the recent past, he was retained to act as a shale Expert Witness in NY State Bankruptcy Court in a matters dealing with gas production and hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
Alan has advised international utilities, trading and private equity firms on global LNG markets and related infrastructure issues. Part of this work focused on LNG liquefaction and regasification assets and the costs associated with these technologies. He has also advised clients on LNG export terminal development economics, the pricing of LNG export cargoes, how they compete against oil-based LNG sales and related regulatory issues. In addition, he has been both an instructor and the developer of a leading global energy industry training firm's LNG courses and can speak about all aspects of the LNG value chain. Recently, Alan traveled to the Far East to advise a national oil company and LNG exporter on market risk issues relating to the growth of the US shale gas industry and the start of US LNG exports.
Alan has considerable experience advising clients on the logistics and economics involved with transporting oil, natural gas and NGLs. This work includes:
a) Crude-by-Rail – Analyzing freight rates, tank car availability, crude oil spreads and the changing regulatory environment for refiners looking to acquire cost-advantaged crude from the Bakken and Western Canada.
b) Pipelines – Evaluating natural gas and oil pipeline expansion projects and capacity utilization of operating pipelines. Examining the shipper re-contracting risk faced by natural gas pipelines and the potential impact of this risk, and potential shipper bankruptcies, on MLP earnings and distributions.
c) Bunkering Operations – Providing insight into the competitive bunker supply market, pricing trends, alternative fuels and how supply operations are evolving due to the implementation of more stringent sulfur emission regulations.
Energy Pricing Indices and Data Providers
Alan began his career working at Platts and eventually became its New York Bureau Chief responsible for spot price assessments. He is extremely knowledgeable on the strengths, weaknesses and differing methodologies used by Platts and competing energy price reporting firms, such as Argus and OPIS. He also can provide insight into the data and forecasting services offered by firms such as IHS CERA, WoodMac and PIRA. He was retained by a leading OPEC member and an integrated energy firm to provide insight on price reporting agencies. He has also advised private equity firms on energy price reporting and data provider investments/acquisitions.
Alan has advised clients on project development in the three major regions in the Alberta Oil Sands (Athabasca, Cold Lake and Peace River) for over 10 years. From this project work he is knowledgeable on the economics involved with oil sands production including changing royalties, operating, capital, upgrading costs and the impact of falling crude oil prices on project development. He can discuss SAGD (Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage), CSS (Huff and Puff), THAI (Toe to Heal Air Injection) and VAPEX (Vapor Extraction Process) in-situ technologies and steam-to-oil ratios (SOR) in SAGD and CSS operations.
Alan previously held the position of a US Energy Practice Area Manager for Datamonitor, where he led strategic planning and the group's research, analysis and marketing. Mr. Herbst has also held business development, energy analysis and consulting positions with the PIRA Energy Group and Standard & Poor's. He has authored over 25 energy studies and articles and is the co-author of "Nuclear Energy Now," a critically acclaimed book on nuclear power development published by Wiley & Son’s. Alan appears frequently as an on-air energy expert for US and international media outlets
Series 3 (Futures and Commodities) Certification, National Futures Association / National Association of Security Dealers
Certificate in the Quantity and Quality Analysis of Petroleum Products, Saybolt In-house Training Program
M.B.A. Finance/International Business, Stern School of Business
A.B. History and Biology, Washington University, St. Louis
Captain Bhatia is a well-known maritime transportation industry expert with over 30 years of operational and commercial experience including organizational turnaround, business strategy, operational risk management, claims, legal & regulatory. He has in-depth technical, commercial and operational management expertise gained by serving at sea for 15 years and later on ashore in commercial operations and management consulting field. He is the founding partner of The Wade Maritime Group, a leading maritime business consulting group based out of Singapore with group offices in India and the UK. He has over the past decade worked on numerous projects in operational risk management, business strategy, organizational design, human capital management, strategic investment advice, claims management and regulatory compliance for leading ship owners, charterers, Oil & Bulk majors, Ports and PE firms.
He is a specialist in commercial operations, maritime economics, transportation strategies, operational risk management, claims management and dispute resolution. Keynote speaker on various advanced training programmes and seminars in the maritime industry.
DR CARLOS BLANCO is a financial risk management expert with over 20 years of diverse experience in energy and financial markets. Throughout his extensive career, he has worked with some of the largest energy and commodity market firms worldwide providing advisory services, educational and software solutions.
He is currently managing director for Ascend Analytics a firm providing market intelligence and decision analysis tools to support the energy transition. He has advised risk groups, boards and senior management in renewables, oil, gas, power, mining and trading firms on risk management and business strategy including governance, risk policy, hedging strategy, risk appetite, risk and performance metrics and risk model development and validation.
Dr. Blanco is an active faculty member for Mennta Energy Solutions since 2004, and he has conducted a wide range of energy derivatives hedging, pricing and risk management seminars worldwide. He also teaches several courses on environmental finance, sustainability, and climate risk as well as portfolio management for renewables resources. A frequent conference speaker and writer, he has coauthored over 150 articles for Energy Risk Magazine, Journal of Portfolio Management, Commodities Now, Energy Metro Desk, Oil and Gas Journal and others.
He is a former VP Risk Solutions at Financial Engineering Associates, Inc (a MSCI/BARRA Company), where he managed the market risk suite of products as well as the firm’s product support and professional services group. He also taught finance at the University of California, Berkeley, and the ABN AMRO Academy. Dr. Blanco was recently awarded the GARP Sustainability and Climate Risk (SCR) certification.
Charles Lawrie acts as advisor, having retired in March 2023 and been a founder and CEO of Richardson Lawrie Associates Ltd, an independent firm of international maritime economists and business consultants established in 1987 and now a part of the Wade Maritime Group based in London, Singapore and India. He has spent 52 years in the oil and shipping sectors, more than 42 of which have been as project manager or senior consultant on shipping, economics, investment appraisals, feasibility studies, transportation strategies and business studies throughout the world. He is a specialist in the development of: investment appraisals, business plans, strategy reviews; commercial/contractual advice, project implementation; evaluation of the transportation economics of varying routes, ports and cargo handling techniques; commodity trade flow analyses and forecasts; modelling and forecasts of short, medium and long term shipping traffic, shipping demand and shipping supply; and modelling and forecasts of shipping charter rates and vessel costs. He continues to work as an expert witness on contractual disputes and as a speaker on RLA courses.
CHRISTOPHER LENNON is the Director of Stone Falcon Corporate and Legal Consulting Ltd – a company that works internationally based in Scotland, UK. Chris has 27 years’ experience within the oil and gas industry – initially working offshore on rigs in the UK and Norway before becoming involved with projects and supply chain issues. He helped establish an anti-corrosion production facility in Aberdeen for casing tubulars – running the production facility initially before going on to create and manage the supply chain. He has set up distribution networks supporting the North Sea E&P industry within Aberdeen. He has managed (and continues to do so) a variety of ‘special projects’ internationally – normally strategic or change management focussed. He has worked/consulted extensively within the field of supply chain management – is a contracts specialist and an international commercial arbitrator.
He is empanelled as both an Arbitrator and a Mediator at the Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC); has the Freedom of the City of London; is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators; a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Arbitrators and a member of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators. He holds an MBA and LLB from the University of Aberdeen, as well as the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators DipICArb. He has over 17 years international professional teaching experience including a number of universities across a wide range of subjects. He is a specialist in consulting within the domain of creating high performance teams. Chris works internationally consulting/training. He has delivered training to project managers of PDVSA; SONATRACH; OMV; PVEP; Vietgazprom; the Southern Operating Company (Iraq); the Iraqi Ministry of Energy; Curoil; the GECF (Gas Exporting Countries Forum) and the Ministry of Energy of the Philippines, as well as a variety of North Sea based companies. He has travelled to the Republic of Mynamar – where he delivered a bespoke training package in all areas of project management to the heads of the country’s oil and gas companies. He was personally welcomed by the Minister of Energy. Chris played a central role in helping to develop the architecture for RasGas’ Leadership Development programme. He was the Discipline Manager for Project Management for the PetroSkills Global Alliance for 3 years and also instructed within the areas of project management and supply chain/purchasing/contracts/ procurement/inventory management. He has also travelled to Monaco and spent some time mentoring and training the senior commercial negotiators of a global oil services company. Chris has travelled to Seoul in South Korea to deliver a bespoke programme for Seoul National University in Managing Project Costs and Budgets. In February of 2017, Chris was hired by the United States Energy Agency to create and deliver a bespoke 5 day project management workshop. Participants were all senior project managers. In April of 2017 Chris spent 2 days with the Board of Directors of Vietgazprom (a joint venture between the Vietnamese and Russian governments) engaged within an open consulting session focussing on Supply Chain/commercial contracts. In May 2018 it was agreed that Stone Falcon would deliver an annual ‘Project Management Summer School’ in conjunction with the University of Aberdeen.
Gabriel Thoumi, CFA, FRM, Founder, Responsible Alpha, is a thematic investment research manager with over 12 years’ experience as an award-winning ESG analyst (2014, 2015, 2020 & 2021), fellowship recipient (2001, 2002, 2005 & 2007), member of various NGO boards and scientific and financial technical committees, and advisor applying his scientific and investment technical skills to investors, lenders, exchanges, rating agencies, and companies across many sectors of the real-economy to support sustainable and equitable investment strategies. He has published over 70 thematic research reports employing ESG integration skills, peer reviewed papers, and hundreds of news articles on capital markets and ESG integration. He is an adjunct lecturer at Johns Hopkins University where he teaches Financing a Sustainable World. He has also taught at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and at other universities. He holds the Certified Ecologist and LEED AP designations from the Ecological Society of America and the US Green Building Council respectively. Finally, he spent almost a decade in public service as a volunteer regional environment and energy commissioner supporting a sustainable and just transition economy for the Washington, DC Metro region. He has an MBA and MSc in Sustainable Systems from the University of Michigan.
Dr. Ian Holdaway is a consultant to the downstream oil industry and has provided expert opinion on more than 70 disputes involving the International Trading and Supply of crudes oil and petroleum products and the planning and economics of refinery operations. Dr Holdaway currently acts a consultant to Minton Treharne & Davies Co Ltd. After graduating with a PhD in industrial chemistry, Dr Holdaway joined Esso working in Research, Marketing and Corporate Planning before transferring to Refining, where he was responsible for Refinery Operations Planning and subsequently Supply Logistics After 11 years he joined J Aron, the commodity trading division of Goldman Sachs, where, as Trading Operations Director, he was responsible for all aspects of J Aron's International Trading Operations within the European and Far Eastern Offices markets.
Mr Jeff Pym is currently affiliated to the US consulting firm, LECG. Until 2003 he was Director General of the Institute of Petroleum, a position he held following departure from BP in 1999. Sixteen years of his management experience were spent in BP’s Gas businesses, mostly abroad negotiating contracts as diverse as the Australian North West Shelf LNG Sales and Purchase Agreement and gas sales agreements, corporate mergers and acquisitions. Having successfully negotiated a European downstream gas merger with Mobil, his final BP position was as Managing Director and Associate President for BP Portugal, retaining responsibility for the combined BP/Mobil Iberian gas business. Among other wide-ranging skills and experience during his career he acquired expertise in communications and inter-cultural management.
John Pexton has a wide experience as a leader in the energy industry, including trading, banking and managing Asian energy companies. John has developed ground-breaking energy projects and partnerships and has significant expertise in managing across boundaries and cultures to build teams and transform organisations.
John is now based in UK after 20 years in Hong Kong and Singapore. His most recent role was as Corporate Advisor to JERA, the world’s largest LNG buyer, on the development of international gas and power projects. John was also Non-Executive Director of JERA Global Markets, a leading trader of coal and LNG.
Prior experience includes:
John has a MA in Chemical Engineering from Jesus College, Cambridge University and an MBA (Distinction) from London Business School. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chemical Engineers and a co-founder of the Singapore branch of UK’s Energy Institute.
JOSEPH A. VASZILY offers over 35 years of professional experience in the natural gas infrastructure and liquefied natural gas (LNG) energy sectors. Mr. Vaszily began his career as a Construction Field Engineer at Distrigas of New York then as a Gas Consultant at Stone & Management Consultants, Inc. before joining Brooklyn Union Gas where he progressed through several positions of increasing responsibility including Vice President, Gas Energy Inc. (unregulated power development affiliate) and Vice President, Methane Development (unregulated renewable energy affiliate). Thereafter, he became Vice President, Gas Infrastructure Development at KeySpan Energy Development Corp. He has also been Director, LNG/natural gas practice at Pace Global. He was Director, Business Development, Northeast Region with Inergy Midstream LLC.Currently he is the President of Gas Asset Solutions an independent energy consulting business. He was most recently a senior advisor to the CEO at Meridian LNG on all strategic and commercial matters. The purview of this position included participation with internal management and external counterparties related to the FSRU based business model being implemented in the international LNG market. Mr. Vaszily has also served as Executive Director by both the American Gas Association and the Natural Gas Supply Association, a national coalition that pursued domestic environmental growth initiatives through the use of natural gas. Mr. Vaszily holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn, NY.
Larry G. Lawrence, President of Enterprise Risk Consulting, LLC, has over 30 years of experience in energy risk management and trading. His experience includes financial trading in energy and equity markets, physical and financial risk management and trading consulting, physical and financial portfolio management, technical and options analysis, corporate education, advisory service publishing, and institutional sales.
Mr. Lawrence has extensive experience in trading and risk management implementation for energy companies. His experience includes hedge strategy development, tactical trading assistance, the development of trading and risk management policies, procedures, and control structures, the review and assessment of risk management programs, risk and performance measurement, risk assessment, trading and risk system selection and implementation, transaction structuring, real option valuation and modeling, market structuring, development of forward price curves and term structures of volatility, credit risk management, and trading and risk management education.
His work includes the evaluation and development of risk system functionality to support internal and external compliance with risk policies. He has developed and delivered educational material covering physical and financial instruments, physical power, natural gas and oil markets, physical and financial trading and hedging, option valuation, hedging with options, the development of a risk management program, trading controls, value at risk, technical analysis, technical trading, and basis trading.
Mr. Lawrence has worked with many public power agencies in the South Central, North Eastern, and Western regions of the U.S., assessing and developing hedging strategies and risk management policies and controls, conducting trader training, and advising on the development of physical supply portfolios, renewable power, congestion risk management, and financial hedging instruments. He has worked with local distribution companies to develop control and reporting processes for physical natural gas trading and hedging, regulatory risk management, transportation asset development, and natural gas marketing strategies. Mr. Lawrence has assisted industrial energy consumers in assessing their energy-related risks, in developing strategic hedging frameworks, and in implementing supply procurement programs.
Mr. Lawrence worked extensively with investor-owned electric utilities during the late 1990s and early 2000s, implementing hedging programs; developing and implementing hedge optimization models, asset valuation models, risk models, and performance measurement models; developing risk management and business strategies for retail providers; implementing credit risk management programs, and training power and fuel traders. Mr. Lawrence holds the BS in Communications from the University of Texas at Austin. He is registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the National Futures Association (NFA) as a
Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA), and with the State of Texas as an Investment Advisor.
Malcolm Johnson has more than 30 years experience at Shell in the natural gas/LNG sector. He was Strategy and Planning Manager in the United Kingdom and Germany during the period of gas liberalisation in Europe. Malcolm has been involved in the development of a number of LNG projects including over 13 years on the Sakhalin LNG project from its inception to final investment decision involving the full range of commercial activities including governance, marketing, LNG contract negotiations and technical/ commercial interface management. He has also provided commercial advice on the Elba LNG receiving terminal expansion, floating LNG, LNG contracts and project development assurance. He is a recognised subject matter expert on commercial LNG matters. Malcolm is now a Director of eMJay LNG Limited providing expert advice and consulting services to the natural gas/LNG industries.
Mary Jackson has over twenty-five years’ experience in the energy industry. After university she began her career at BP, working in the information management group, before joining the Manufacturing, Supply and Trading department. She subsequently worked at Saladin as a consultant, working closely with clients throughout the world and providing consultancy advice on energy market analysis, trading and risk management. In several senior roles at Saladin, she managed the energy consulting team, ran the energy market information service and directed strategy for new software and information product development.
Since 2000, Mary has worked as an independent energy market consultant and she formed Kingston Energy Consulting with Nigel Harris in 2002. Kingston Energy provides consultancy services to companies involved in energy markets and trading. A key area of work has been the European natural gas market - Kingston Energy has researched and authored a well-respected report on European natural gas trading which has been published annually since 2004.
Mary has lectured regularly for Mennta Energy Solutions on energy markets, trading and risk management and is also a regular speaker and panel member at public conferences. She has written articles for industry publications including Harts Energy Markets, Energy Risk, Global Energy Business and Petroleum Review.
Dr Michelle Lynch is the Managing Director and Owner of Enabled Future Limited (EFL) based in the West Midlands, UK. EFL offers consulting, multi-client reports, thought leadership and training aimed at Optimizing Technology Portfolios and ensuring continued profitability of companies over time. Key sectors served include catalysis (EnabledCatalysts), the circular economy (EnabledCircular) and sustainable energy and power (EnabledPower). Key technology areas include catalysts, net zero technologies: carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), circular manufacturing, power-to-x, hydrogen; production, use, reuse and recycling of fuel cells, electrolysers, lithium-ion batteries, rare earth components and other high-value metals and critical raw materials. Michelle has over 24 years of experience in the chemical industry including 10 years in consulting teams at Nexant, IHS Markit and Enabled Future Limited and 14 years in Johnson Matthey where she held roles in information science, market research and catalyst development.
Nigel Harris is a director and principal consultant at Kingston Energy Consulting, which he founded with Mary Jackson in 2002. He has been helping energy traders to analyse and understand the markets for over 25 years, initially as a developer of market analysis software systems, and more recently as a consultant.
At Kingston Energy Consulting, his main focus is on providing education and information transfer to participants in the energy trading business, through instructor-led classroom training, web-based training development, research projects, workshops, briefings and research-based report writing.
In his work with Mennta Energy Solutions, he has created a library of new instructor-led and web-based courses on European gas and power markets and trading. In 2005, he worked with Mary Jackson to develop the popular Oil Trading Orientation course, which has since been presented at venues all over the world. He has also extensively revised and updated many existing courses on derivatives, hedging and risk management. He regularly presents this material both at public venues and as in-house, often customised, courses.
He is co-author of a series of highly regarded reports on European natural gas trading and has also contributed to reports on power markets and oil trading.
In previous roles, he was a key member of the team that initially designed and developed Saladin’s innovative Petroleum Analysis Workstation, a system that became an industry standard for historical price analysis during the 1990s and remained in use in the industry for two decades. During this period, he worked closely and extensively with oil and gas traders around the world to understand their information and analytical requirements. He also spent some years as an independent consultant, working mainly with software and information providers to help them better understand the oil and gas trading sectors.
Richard Johnstone is an independent consultant, providing expertise in all areas of oil supply and trading, in particular in the negotiation and operation of commercial contracts for oil and gas production, processing, transportation and sales. He has had over 30 years' commercial and management experience in major oil industry organisations, where his responsibilities have included sales and marketing, supply and trading, and transportation. Richard is a graduate of Oxford University; before becoming a consultant in 1997, he had worked for BP in London and Milan, the British National Oil Corporation, the Oil and Pipelines Agency (BNOC's successor) and BG Exploration and Production.
Robin A Burley is Managing Director of Kennet Oil Logistics (KOL), a company established in 1990 providing expertise in the international supply, trading and transportation sector. KOL has worked with a wide range of clients including oil majors, independents, governments, accountancy, engineering, banking, trading, shipping, storage companies and law firms. Prior to this he worked with BP in Marine and Supply Departments, and Gulf Oil in Trading & Transportation and Refining & Marketing functions. Besides the day-to-day management and negotiation of oil supply, trading and transportation deals, he has been involved in a variety of oil logistics projects throughout the world. He has lived in the USA, Europe and the Middle East, and is a contributing author to the Oil Trading Manual (pub. Woodhead).
SCOTT CARGILE has over 38 years of experience in the energy industry predominantly in the downstream sector. Scott began his career with Texaco in 1981 after graduating from Brown University with a degree in Biomechanical Engineering. Initially, he was an engineer in the Alternate Energy Research department, where he was involved in coal to liquids and computer network projects.
Scott moved into Texaco Oil Trading and Supply in 1985. He progressed through many trading roles in crude, natural gas and products, eventually managing the global derivatives trading group.
In 1997 Scott transferred into the Aviation Sales group within Texaco, which managed supply and sales of aviation fuels to the airlines. As a VP he managed global supply and North America Commercial Marketing.
After Texaco merged with Chevron in 2001, Scott was named a VP of Chevron Products Company. He returned to the trading area in 2004 as VP – Risk Management & Financial Trading, where he managed global financial trading activities; implemented corporate risk management programs; and developed and executed hedge programs for other Chevron trading groups.
In 2005 Scott was promoted to General Manager - Americas within Chevron’s Product Supply and Trading organization. In this role he managed the supply, distribution and trading activities for all ex-refinery products in North and South America.
Scott retired from Chevron in late 2011 and relocated to Pittsburgh, PA to join Guttman Energy as its EVP of Supply and Trading. Guttman trades, markets and transports refined products in the Eastern half of the US.
Scott was promoted to President and COO of Guttman Energy in 2013, where he led all activities of the company, including marketing, trading, transportation and terminal operations. Scott retired from Guttman in February of 2019.
Zoe Young has worked in the downstream oil and gas industry for over 20 years, both as an independent adviser and with companies such as ExxonMobil and Gaffney, Cline & Associates. She has advised private companies, national oil companies and governments regarding the optimal development of natural gas resources and has consulted on projects covering LNG, GTL, methanol, ammonia and power generation. She has also worked on natural gas importation, the development of gas master plans and the development of gas-based industry in various countries. Zoe has lectured, or provided in-house training, on a range of topics, both for private companies, national oil companies (JOGMEC, PetroSA) training providers (Mennta Energy Solutions, Energy Institute) and academic institutions (Cass Business School).