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Management Team

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Ken Aitken

Chief Executive Officer

BSc Mechanical Engineering, MICD

Ken has extensive knowledge of WA’s oil and gas industry through his senior roles with Origin, Mitsui, Apache and New Standard Energy as well as international experience in Norway, UK and Indonesia.

Ken was General Manager Operations and Engineering with ASXlisted petroleum company New Standard Energy with responsibility for managing all operated asset activities with joint venture partners Conoco Phillips and Petrochina.

Prior to this, Ken held the position of WA Business Unit Manager/Asset Manager with Origin Energy for seven years, during which time he managed production of approximately three million barrels of oil and 20PJ of gas. During his tenure, Origin discovered and developed the significant Redback gas field, located in the onshore Perth Basin.

Rachel Rees

Chief Financial Officer & Company Secretary

B.Bus (Acc), Grad Dip ACG, FTIA, FCIS, FGIA, FCA

Rachel is a Senior Executive and Chartered Accountant with extensive commercial, strategic and risk management, corporate governance and financial management experience. She has a track record of success over more than 25 years across a broad range of industries including energy & resources and the industrial sector.

Prior to joining Empire, Rachel was Chief Financial Officer of the ASX listed Rex Minerals Ltd. Previously, Rachel was Vice President-Corporate Affairs: Australia for TSX listed Uranium One. At Uranium One Rachel was an integral part of the leadership team that developed Australia’s fourth uranium mine from feasibility study through to a well-respected emerging producer.

Rachel’s previous roles include auditor with PWC, as well as executive and operational roles in multinationals and listed corporations including Hills Holdings Ltd and Argyle Diamonds.

Milton Schmedje

Exploration Manager

B Sc (Applied Geology) Hons.

Milton is a commercially focused, laterally thinking geologist with considerable experience in hands-on technical as well as management roles. He has held senior positions with Ampolex (now Exxon Mobil-Mobil), Oil Company of Australia (now Origin), Petroz (now Conoco-Phillips), Energy Equity (now Energy World), Amity Oil/Antares Energy, LNG Limited, Australian Worldwide Exploration and Tap Oil.

Milton’s strong background in both active operating environments and in business development was developed throughout Australia, Africa, Turkey, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, India, Iran, Philippines, Vietnam, PNG and USA. 

John Mastrocinque

Operations and Engineering Manager

B Eng (Chem) Hons.

Over the past 26 years, John has gained a unique mix of experience incorporating technical, operational, project management and contract administration support for onshore, offshore and floating oil & gas production facilities. His extensive practical experience includes problem solving, production optimisation and plant equipment rationalization under tight fiscal constraints.

John has spent many years working overseas in Qatar, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam as well as extensively throughout Australia. Previous employers include Woodside Energy Limited, Apache Energy Limited, UNOCAL Indonesia, Murphy Oil Sarawak, Australian FPSO Management Pty Ltd, MODEC and Brown & Root Energy Services Australia.

John’s specific expertise is in the development of lease back Build, Own, Operate (BOO) contracts for onshore and offshore oil & gas projects both within Australia and internationally.