Cobalt's management team has a proven, differentiated track record of successfully participating in our industry's largest global projects over the past two decades. We have played key roles in major offshore discoveries, and have been instrumental in bringing these large-scale global hydrocarbon projects through development to production.
A few examples of major discoveries and development/production projects in which management has played a key role include: Atlantis, Great White and Thunderhorse in the Gulf of Mexico; Blocks 15, 17, 18, and 31 in Angola.
We have negotiated globally significant and challenging commercial agreements, such as the Exxon/Mobil and Chevron/Unocal mergers. And we have developed many long-standing relationships with independent oil companies, host governments, national oil companies and service providers - all of which enhances Cobalt's competitiveness and our ability to deliver.
Joseph H. Bryant (Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer)
Joseph H. Bryant has been our Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of our Board of Directors since our inception in November 2005. Mr. Bryant has 33 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. Prior to joining Cobalt, from September 2004 to September 2005, he was President and Chief Operating Officer of Unocal Corporation, an oil and gas exploration and production company. From May 2000 to August 2004, Mr. Bryant was President of BP Exploration (Angola) Limited, from January 1997 to May 2000, Mr. Bryant was President of BP Canada Energy Company (including serving as President of Amoco Canada Petroleum Co. between January 1997 and May 2000, prior to its merger with BP Canada), and from 1993 to 1996, Mr. Bryant served as President of a joint venture between Amoco Orient Petroleum Company and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation focused on developing the offshore Liuhua fields. Prior to 1993, Mr. Bryant held executive leadership positions in Amoco Production Company's business units in The Netherlands and the Gulf of Mexico, serving in many executive capacities and in numerous engineering, financial and operational roles throughout the continental United States. Mr. Bryant currently also serves on the board of directors of Winter Sports Inc., and effective January 2011, The American Petroleum Institute. Mr. Bryant holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nebraska.
Samuel H. Gillespie (General Counsel and Executive Vice President)
Samuel H. Gillespie has been our General Counsel and Executive Vice President since our inception in November 2005. He served as Vice Chairman of our Board of Directors from our inception until October 2009. Mr. Gillespie has 30 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. Prior to joining Cobalt, from 2003 to 2005, Mr. Gillespie was Special Counsel at Skadden, Arps, Meagher & Flom, LLP & Affiliates. From 1994 to 2001, Mr. Gillespie was Senoir Vice President and General Counsel of Unocal Corporation. From 2001 to 2003, Mr. Gillespie was General Counsel of Mobil Corporation. While at these companies Mr. Gillespie led key negotiations, including Mobil Corporation's global merger with Exxon Corporation and Unocal Corporation's merger with Chevron Corporation. He was also instrumental in the expansion of Mobil Corporation's and Unocal Corporation's exploration and production opportunities in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Qatar, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Russia, Azerbaijan, Nigeria, Cameroon, Vietnam, Venezuela and Peru. Mr. Gillespie holds a Bachelor of Arts from Middlebury College and a J.D. from Vanderbilt University.
John Wilkirson (Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer)
John P. Wilkirson has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since June 2010. From 2007 until June 2010, Mr. Wilkirson served as our Vice President, Strategic Planning and Investor Relations. Mr. Wilkirson has 30 years of experience in the energy industry. Prior to joining Cobalt, from 1998 to 2005, Mr. Wilkirson was Vice President, Strategic Planning and Economics of Unocal Corporation, where his primary responsibilities included identifying and addressing major strategic issues, managing the global asset and investment portfolio, leading the economic analysis and evaluations function and overseeing performance management. He played an instrumental role as the integration executive for Unocal Corporation's merger into Chevron Corporation. Prior to Unocal Corporation, from 1992 to 1997, Mr. Wilkirson was an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company, Inc., a management consulting firm, serving energy clients on strategy and performance improvement engagements. Additional industry experience includes positions at Exxon Company USA from 1980 to 1984 and Sohio Petroleum Company and BP from 1984 to 1991, in petroleum engineering and commercial assignments. Mr. Wilkirson has a Bachelor of Science with Highest Honors in Petroleum Engineering and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin.
James H. Painter (Executive Vice President, Gulf of Mexico)
Mr. Painter joined Cobalt in November 2005 and currently serves as our Executive Vice President, Gulf of Mexico. Mr. Painter has more than 26 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. Prior to joining Cobalt, from February 2004 to September 2005, Mr. Painter was the Senior Vice President of Exploration and Technology at Unocal Corporation. Prior to his position at Unocal Corporation (following the merger between Ocean Energy Inc. and Devon Energy Corporation), from April 2003 to October 2003, Mr. Painter served as the Vice President of Exploration at Devon Energy Corporation, an oil and gas exploration and production company. From January 1995 to April 2003, Mr. Painter served in various manager and executive positions at Ocean Energy Inc. (and its predecessor Flores and Rucks, Inc.) with his final position as Senior Vice President of Gulf of Mexico and International Exploration. Additional industry experience includes positions at Forest Oil Corporation, an independent oil and gas exploration company, Mobil Oil Corporation and Superior Oil Company, Inc. Mr. Painter holds a Bachelor of Science in Geology from Louisiana State University.
Van P. Whitfield (Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer)
Van P. Whitfield joined Cobalt in May 2006 and currently serves as our Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Whitfield has over 36 years of experience leading oil and gas production operations and marketing activities in North America, the United Kingdom and Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Prior to joining Cobalt, from May 2003 to May 2005, Mr. Whitfield served as Senior Vice President, Western Operations of CDX Gas LLC, an independent oil and gas company. From October 2002 to April 2003 he served as Production Unit Leader for the Angola Liquid Natural Gas Project, BP Exploration (Angola) Limited and from June 2001 to October 2002, he held the position of Vice President, Power and Water of ExxonMobil Saudi Arabia (Southern Ghawar) Ltd, an exploration and production company. Mr. Whitfield has also held the positions of Senior Vice President of BP Global Power, President and General Manager of Amoco Netherlands BV and Production Manager of Amoco (U.K.) Exploration Company, both exploration and production companies. In addition, he has held numerous operational and technical leadership positions in various Amoco Production Company locations, including: the position of Production Manager, West Texas and Engineering Manager, Worldwide. Mr. Whitfield has a Bachelor of Science Degree- Petroleum Engineering from Louisiana State University and is a graduate of the Executive Program at Stanford University.
James W. Farnsworth (Chief Exploration Officer)
James W. Farnsworth has been our Chief Exploration Officer since our inception in November 2005. Mr. Farnsworth has more than 26 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. From 2003 to 2005, Mr. Farnsworth held the position of Vice President of World-Wide Exploration and Technology, at BP, a global energy company, and was responsible for BP's global exploration business inclusive of North America, West Africa, North Africa, South America, Russia and the Far East. His prior positions at BP from 1983 to 2003, include: Vice President of North America Exploration; Vice President of Gulf of Mexico Exploration; Exploration Manager for Alaska; Deepwater Gulf of Mexico Production Manager for Non-operated Fields. Mr. Farnsworth has a B.S. degree in Geology from Indiana University and an M.S. degree in Geophysics from Western Michigan University.
Michael D. Drennon (Executive Vice President and General Manager, Cobalt Angola)
Michael D. Drennon has been our Executive Vice President and General Manager, Cobalt Angola since April 2010 and has 34 years of industry experience. Prior to joining Cobalt, Mr. Drennon served as Vice President, Operations for Parker Drilling Company from 2005 until April 2010. Mr. Drennon's additional industry experience includes various executive positions at BP and Amoco in the United States, United Kingdom, China, Trinidad, Norway and Angola. Mr. Drennon received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Petroleum Engineering from Texas Tech University in 1977.
Lynne Hackedorn (Vice President, Government, Public Affairs and Land)
Lynne L. Hackedorn has served as Vice President, Government, Public Affairs and Land since September 2010. From April 2006 until September 2010, Ms. Hackedorn served as our Vice President, Land. Ms. Hackedorn has over 26 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. Prior to joining Cobalt, from 2001 to 2006, Ms. Hackedorn served as Senior Landman at Hydro Gulf of Mexico, L.L.C., formerly Spinnaker Exploration Company, L.L.C., an oil and gas exploration and production company, handling a variety of land functions within both the shelf and deepwater areas of the Gulf of Mexico. From 1998 to 2001, Ms. Hackedorn held both technical and management positions within the offshore Gulf of Mexico regions of Sonat Exploration GOM, Inc. and El Paso Production GOM, Inc., both oil and gas exploration and production companies. From 1994 to 1998, Ms. Hackedorn was a Landman with Zilkha Energy Company, also an oil and gas exploration and production company. Ms. Hackedorn began her career as a Landman in 1984 at ARCO Oil and Gas Company, where she worked in the onshore South Texas region from 1984 until 1990, and then in the offshore Gulf of Mexico region from 1990 until 1994. Ms. Hackedorn earned her Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Land Management from the University of Houston, graduating Magna Cum Laude.
Richard A. Smith (Vice President, International Business Development
Data is an E&P company's lifeblood, particularly in the sub-salt and pre-salt basins that are Cobalt's strategic areas of focus. We have invested more than $200 million in state-of-the art resources, which provides Cobalt with a distinct advantage when complemented with our team's in-depth regional knowledge, experience and meticulous approach. Such an approach has been effective in understanding sub-salt and pre-salt formations where distortions and poorly illuminated areas make seismic interpretation and locating hydrocarbons difficult.
In the Gulf of Mexico, we have licenses covering approximately 18.3 million acres (74,000 square kilometers) of processed 3-D depth-migrated seismic data and approximately 2.8 million acres (11,400 square kilometers) of wide-azimuth 3-D depth data. In addition, we have performed proprietary reprocessing on approximately 4.3 million acres (17,600 square kilometers) of 3-D seismic data to enhance image quality and velocity model confidence. We also have licensed approximately 78,000 line miles (125,530 kilometers) of 2-D pre-stack depth-migrated seismic data in the Gulf of Mexico. In West Africa, we have acquired approximately 125,000 line miles (200,000 line kilometers) of 2-D seismic data and approximately 4,170 square miles (10,800 square kilometers) of 3-D seismic data.
Through the ongoing infusion of additional information, combined with advanced reprocessing technologies and hands-on interpretation by some of the most talented geoscientists in the business, we have generated some of the highest quality prospects in the industry.
The discovery of Shenandoah and Heidelberg (our first two exploration wells in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico) are strong indications that this approach is paying off.
Technology is the X-factor in today's oil and gas busniness. Our industry is one of the world's largest users of computer power and data. At Cobalt, we are using technology in a very different way.
We have signed a multi-year contract with Landmark Graphics to provide all seismic data storage and software hosting services. This virtual IT system with state-of-the-art subsurface interpretation and volume visualization capabilities minimizes capital spending for information technology and a large IT department.
Our use of technology also extends to the well site. Cobalt has secured the ENSCO 8503 - a new build, fifth generation dynamically positioned semi-submersible rig capable of drilling any prospect in our inventory. To expedite production, we will tie-in to established subsea building blocks, utilizing a robust and flexible subsea design that meets the criteria of most of our prospects.