Virtual Special Institute

Bankruptcy and Financial Distress in the Oil & Gas Industry: Legal Problems and Solutions

Speakers & committee

Program Chair

GREG NIBERT is a native of Roswell, New Mexico. He and his wife, Carolyn, have two sons, Gregory, an oil and gas lawyer in Denver, and Jeff, a farmer in Roswell.  He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New Mexico in 1980 and received a Juris Doctor degree, cum laude, from Pepperdine University in 1983.  He was Editor in Chief of the Pepperdine Law Review for 1982-83.  He is a partner in Hinkle Shanor LLP and his practice is focused on Oil and Gas Law.  He has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America since 1993, Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers for Business since 2005.  He was selected as the Natural Resource Lawyer of the Year in 2015 by the New Mexico Bar Section on Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law.  In 2016, Mr. Nibert was elected to the New Mexico House of Representatives, District 59 (Chaves and Lincoln Counties) where he continues to serve. He represents New Mexico on the Executive Board of the Energy Council.  The Rural Water Users Association selected Greg as the Legislator of the Year for 2018 and he received an award from the Association of Commerce and Industry for work on legislation promoting economic development in the State.  Greg was one of two New Mexico legislators invited to attend the Fourth China United States Governor’s Conference in the People’s Republic of China in 2018 to promote New Mexico business in China. Greg is a past president of the Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico and continues to serve on its Board of Directors.  He was the Treasurer (2013-15) and a member of the Board of Directors (2011-15) of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation.  He previously served as a Chaves County Commissioner from 2007 through 2014.  While Chairman of the Commission he successfully fought the US Fish and Wildlife Service to prevent the listing of the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard and the Lesser Prairie Chicken.   He has presented numerous papers and speeches to a number of organizations on oil and gas law topics, including the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, American Association of Professional Landmen, University of Texas, and Center for International and American Law Energy Law Institute.

Program Committee

MARK BRANNUM currently serves as Executive Vice-President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary for Jonah Energy LLC, in Denver, Colorado, a role he has served in since 2014. Over his 26-year career, Mark has served in senior legal leadership roles with Magellan Petroleum Corporation, SM Energy and Dallas based business law firm, Winstead. Mark has served in various roles in the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, including Trustee, former Chair and Co-Chair for the Corporate Counsel Committee, Co-Chair for the Special Institute Financial Distress in the Oil & Gas Industry, and as an author and presenter at other Special Institutes.

ALAN C. BRYAN, Crowley Fleck PLLP, Billings, MT

KYLER K. BURGI, Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, Denver, CO

SARA COELHO, Shearman & Sterling LLP, New York, NY

TRAVIS A. MCROBERTS, Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP, Dallas, TX

KELLI S. NORFLEET, Haynes & Boone LLP, Houston, TX

NORA PINCUS is a partner in the Salt Lake City and Denver offices of Dorsey and Whitney. Nora is nationally recognized for her experience guiding mining, oil and gas, renewable energy, and agricultural companies through complicated transactions. Her practice focuses on representing clients in high value asset transactions, financings, and project development/build-out. Nora has substantial experience managing multi-disciplinary teams in major M&A transactions from due diligence to closing. She is an expert on the public land laws of the United States, working in tandem with regulatory and commercial teams in facilitating environmentally responsible development on public lands. Nora also helps clients in the ranching and agricultural sectors reach their commercial and conservation goals. Nora’s clients include domestic and international mining and energy companies, renewable energy developers, multinational agricultural corporations, national banks, and private equity funds. Nora received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah and her law degree from the University of Denver.  Outside of work, Nora enjoys spending time outdoors skiing, biking and running. 


H. JOSEPH ACOSTA, Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Dallas, TX

CAMERON BETTIS’ land career began in 2007, and for the first six years, ranged from running title in the Eagle Ford to managing lease plays in the Powder River Basin. The next six years (and counting) have consisted of managing collateral due diligence for upstream and midstream oil and gas financing transactions nationwide. In 2015, he joined the international firm of Simpson, Thatcher & Bartlett LLP where he works as a landman alongside the attorneys representing financial institutions and investment firms, specializing in mortgage and title diligence and related issues and documentation. Cameron received his CPL designation in January 2020. Cameron is married to Amy, and they live near Houston with their four children.

MARK L. BURGHARDT represents clients in the energy and natural resource industry in litigation, administrative hearings, and transactions. Mark engages with clients to prevent and solve issues with the location and development of their oil, gas, mining, and renewable energy projects. He has worked with companies on projects involving federal, state, private, and Indian lands. Mark has also represented clients in a wide range of transactions and joint ventures. He has litigated energy development and land use disputes in both federal and state court and has routinely appeared before Utah Board of Oil, Gas and Mining and the Utah Division of Environmental Quality.

KYLER K. BURGI, Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, Denver, CO

ANDREW J. (DREW) CLOUTIER is a partner in the Roswell, NM office of Hinkle Shanor LLP. He tries a variety of oil and gas cases, including administrative proceedings, for both the upstream and midstream segments of the oil and gas industry. Drew served as President of the State Bar of New Mexico in 2013 and as President of the Western States Bar Conference in 2018. He is also a long-time volunteer in Scouts BSA and served as a Scoutmaster of Troop 149 in Roswell for seven years and President of the Conquistador Council for five years. Drew and his wife, Carrie-Leigh, are co-handlers of a trained courthouse dog named Zia who comforts children who are victims of and witnesses to crime while testifying or being interviewed.

ELI COLUMBUS, Haynes & Boone, LLP, Dallas, TX

ELLEN CONLEY is an associate in the Energy, Power and Natural Resources Practice Group in the Houston office of Haynes and Boone. She handles energy finance matters, as well as the acquisition and disposition of oil and gas properties. She represents lenders and borrowers in secured reserved-base credit facilities, and has experience with a variety of transactions, including ISDA master agreements and schedules and oil and gas purchase and sale agreements.

MICHAEL P. COOLEY, Reed Smith LLP, Dallas, TX

BERNARD R. GIVEN II, Loeb & Loeb LLP, Los Angeles, CA

DEMETRA LIGGINS is a partner at Thompson & Knight in Houston and New York. She has nearly two decades of experience in business finance and restructuring for a variety of large and small public and private companies. As a trusted business advisor, Demetra partners with her clients to identify and achieve their goals in the bankruptcy process, navigating through complex corporate reorganizations and distressed acquisitions. She has led many of Thompson & Knight’s representations of bankruptcy clients, working on both in-court and out-of-court restructurings. A thoughtful and creative problem solver, she is highly regarded for her ability to quickly and efficiently help clients assess the effects of a bankruptcy on their corporate and financial transactions. Demetra works with her clients to purchase and sell assets in distressed situations, secure financing, and negotiate structure and implement cash collateral orders and debtor-in-possession financing agreements.

PAUL J. LOPACH, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP, Denver, CO

JESSICA PEET is an attorney in the Restructuring and Reorganization practice group at Vinson and Elkins in New York. Her principal areas of practice include the representation of debtors, creditors, and investors in various aspects of complex corporate restructurings, including chapter 11 cases, out-of-court restructurings, and acquisitions. Jessica has represented clients in a range of industries, including oil and gas, gaming, coal, retail, and professional sports.

CHRIS RICHARDSON is a partner at Davis Graham & Stubbs in Denver, Colorado. He has worked with secured and unsecured creditors, debtors, and creditors’ committees in numerous Chapter 11 proceedings. He has also assisted clients and debtors in buying and selling companies out of Chapter 11, as well as reorganizing or liquidating debtor companies, and has represented purchasers of oil and gas assets in Chapter 11 Section 363 auctions in bankruptcy proceeding in Wyoming, Colorado, and Delaware. Mr. Richardson has lectured on acquisition agreements, deal structures, and debtor-creditor issues, including the impact of bankruptcy on environmental laws, lessor-lessee relationships in bankruptcy, bankruptcy current developments, and asset sales in a bankruptcy.

IAN E. ROBERTS, Shearman & Sterling LLP, Dallas, TX

SARAH LINK SCHULTZ, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Dallas, TX

MATTHEW WARREN, King & Spalding LLP, Chicago, IL