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Our Team

Stephen Payne - Chairman & General Partner

Stephen has over 25 years of Governmental Affairs, Public Relations and Energy Consulting experience representing the countries of Pakistan, Azerbaijan and the UAE as well as corporate household names such as JP Morgan, SAP Software, Continental Airlines, and Major League Baseball. In the energy sector, Payne has represented Russian companies like Yukos and Tatneft Oil along with many others. In the Natural gas industry, Mr. Payne worked with Itera Gas (Russia's largest independent gas company) in it's development of various international projects (including LNG exports). He also represented the Government of Turkmenistan in re-assembling a consortium of nations and international firms to build a natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan. Mr. Payne coordinated the project and organized a trilateral summit between the Presidents of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan that produced a memorandum of understanding regarding the Turkmen/Afghan gas pipeline, restoring the project's viability after years of dormancy.
Payne served as a Senior Presidential Advance Representative of The White House traveling with President Bush to Jordan for the Red Sea Summit in June 2003, with Vice President Cheney to the Middle East in 2002 & 2005, Kazakhstan in 2006, and Afghanistan for the historic inauguration of Afghan President Karzai. Payne served as a Board Member of the National Defense University Foundation; was Deputy Director and Congressional Liaison of the 2001 Presidential Inaugural Committee; and was appointed to the Department of Homeland Security Advisory Committee. In 2006 at the NATO Summit in Riga, Latvia, Payne led the think tank conference panel discussion on energy security and chaired a NATO Future Leaders Forum comprised of leaders from thirty-five NATO member and partner countries.

David A. Merkel - Senior Advisor

David A. Merkel is Managing Director of Summit International Advisors, a Senior Fellow at Johns Hopkins Center for Transatlantic Relations and at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy a  Visiting Faculty Member in the Geopolitics of Energy.  Mr. Merkel has served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, Director for European and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council in the White House, Senior Director for Central Asian Affairs at the National Security Council, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Treasury Department; and International Counselor to the Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies Social Science Foundation at the University of Denver and American University School of International Studies Dean’s Council in Washington, D.C. He holds degrees in Economics and International Relations and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (London) and the Swedish Institute of International Affairs.

EMIL PEÑA - Senior Advisor
Emil Peña is Executive Director of the Global Energy Safety Institute, an organization transitioning space knowledge and technologies into the energy sector for oil, gas, utilities and renewables.  He has also served in the U.S. Department of Energy as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Natural Gas and Petroleum Technology, Office of Fossil Energy and was responsible for administering oil and gas programs including research and development, planning and environmental analysis, and import and export activities.  Mr. Peña is also interim President and CEO of Frac Ensure, Inc., a Houston, Texas based Technology Company focused on tracking frac fluids in a non-toxic and noninvasive manner.

Chalid Arrab - Senior Advisor  
Chalid started his career as a professional sportsman involved in several international tournaments mainly in Asia and USA.
He is currently chairman of Lichtenstein based Arrabco International, a major global producer and marketer of commodities and renewable energy worldwide. He is a well-known venture capitalist with investments in mining, oil and gas production, shipping and other projects including a 500MW wind farm in the Sindh province of Pakistan, a gold mine in Surinam. Under his leadership, Arrabco International partnered with the Papua New Guinea government to expand its productive capacity which will provide access to projects with over 10TCF of natural gas.

Erik Saenz - Director
Erik is co-founder of United LNG, LP where he was instrumental in executing the company's financial strategy. Erik has 15 years experience providing clients with financial advisory services to upstream and oilfield service companies and has facilitated mandates totaling $30 billion.

W. Christopher Caudill - Director  
Chris has over 7 years of diversified international and domestic energy and political experience.  He has an extensive background in forming E&P ventures.  He is a former team member of a strategic team, which conducted portfolio analysis of a national owned oil company’s asset base with multi-billion dollar investment recommendations.  He has gained extensive technical experience while working with Dr. Nansen Saleri at Quantum Reservoir Impact, LLC and Sabco Oil and Gas Corporation.  He is a former advance representative for the Vice President Dick Cheney and worked with our Chairman at Worldwide Strategic Partners.

Brian Kerrigan - Director  
Brian has over 25 years experience in the energy industry. He has co-lead buy-side and  sell-side mandates totaling $50 billion. Brian is a former co-founder of CIT Energy Banking where he was instrumental in creating the firm's principal energy investment business.  He previously worked at Pritchard Capital as Managing Director in charge of capital markets. He is a former director at Enron where he worked as the Principal Investments group in charge of power generation projects.  

Brian Ettinger - General Counsel
Attorney, Brian S. Ettinger’s law practice emphasizes on business representation for international and domestic multi-industry businesses, oil, gas, LNG production and exploration, rig equipment and oil services, businesses, contracts, negotiations, collections and business development.  Currently, serve as General Counsel for Drilling Structures Services, Inc.  Previously, served as general counsel for Farouk Systems, Inc. in the beauty supply industry.  Currently, serves as Chairman of the Board of Scrips America, a publicly traded company in the generic pharmaceutical business.  Previously served on the Board of Directors of two private companies that became publicly traded companies. Registered lobbyist for foreign governments, sovereign owned energy companies, and international businesses.  Qualified mediator and arbitrator for domestic and international legal matters.  Served as an assistant to Mayor for the City of Philadelphia and Congressional Staff Assistant to Congress House Leadership and Senator Biden Jr.














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