Berry Petroleum appoints executive leadership

Berry Petroleum Co. LLC, Bakersfield, Calif., now an independent wholly-owned subsidiary of Berry Petroleum Corp. after its split from previous owner Linn Energy Inc. earlier this year, has appointed executive leadership and expanded its asset base.

Gary Grove has been named executive vice-president and chief operating officer. He has more than 35 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, with technical and executive management experience in operations, reservoir engineering, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic development.

He most recently served as president and chief executive officer of Greyhaven Energy LLC beginning in May 2014, providing strategic planning, technical, and acquisition advisory services to industry clients.  

Cary Baetz will take the role of executive vice-president and chief financial officer. He most recently served as chief financial officer at Seventy Seven Energy Inc. Steven B. Wilson also has been tapped as senior vice-president of finance and administration.

Kurt Neher will become executive vice-president of business development, and Kenneth A. Olson has been appointed corporate secretary and human resource director.

Berry also revealed itself as the buyer of Linn’s 84% working interest in South Belridge field of California’s San Joaquin basin for $263 million, a deal announced by Linn in late May (OGJ Online, May 24, 2017). Berry had been the operator with 16% minority working interest prior to the agreement. 

A.T. Smith, Berry Petroleum Co. chief executive officer, said the purchase "fits nicely" within the firm's core assets. "It reaffirms our commitment to California energy production," he said. "The acreage is underdeveloped and represents a real opportunity for value creation and growth of reserves and production through a multiyear drilling and development program.”

Berry Petroleum Co. and Linn emerged from bankruptcy in February, resulting in the separation of two entities that merged in 2013 (OGJ Online, Mar. 1, 2017).

Berry’s assets are now primarily focused on the San Joaquin basin, the Uinta basin in Utah, the Piceance basin in Colorado, and Hugoton field in Kansas. The firm and its predecessor companies have mainly operated in California over the past 100 years, expanding outside of the state in 2003.

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