Graves & Co. Consulting, LLC has assembled a talented staff of reservoir engineers and geologists with the expertise to address the varied and changing technology impacting the oil and natural gas industry throughout the world today.  These specialists are deployed on an as needed basis in areas of unconventional shale plays, conventional reservoirs, onshore and offshore reservoir or field studies, and in situations ranging from exploration projects to development studies to assets sales and acquisitions.



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John Graves, President.John Graves has 41 years of experience in exploration & production and oil & gas consulting. He began his career as a roughneck for Grey Wolf Drilling, and joined Texoil Company as a field landman, focusing on South Louisiana. He spent 15 years with Texoil, rising to president and chief operating officer, and helping to take Texoil public. During his tenure, Texoil expanded its exploration efforts into coastal Texas and its acquisition efforts into Argentina.

He founded Graves & Co. in 1996 as the first buy-side M&A service and support firm in the industry, providing due diligence, valuations, negotiation support and acquisition sourcing, along with front line and back-office support to E&P companies in the form of land, accounting, gas marketing and regulatory services. Graves & Co’s. buy-side M&A services expanded into the oilfield service and midstream sectors, and most recently, the downstream sector. Graves & Co’s work has involved assets in every major basin in the Lower 48 States, the Outer Continental Shelf, the Cook Inlet, offshore West Africa, and onshore Argentina and Guatemala.

Mr. Graves holds a BA in History and Political Science from Texas A&M University, and an MA from the University of Leicester. He is a member of the American Association of Professional Landmen, Houston Producers’ Forum, and Houston Energy Finance Group.


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Executive Vice President

Bill Vail, Executive Vice President.Bill Vail is a licensed professional engineer in both Texas and Alberta, Canada with extensive experience throughout North America during his thirty-seven years of professional engineering, evaluating various reservoirs in basins undergoing all stages of exploration and development. He has industry experience in production and operations as well as reservoir evaluations, having begun his career in the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast with Energy Reserves Group. Bill then moved to Transco Exploration Co. where he was not only involved in the economics of drilling and development projects, but also reserve estimates for corporate reporting and analyses of mergers and acquisitions.

Bill entered the consulting field with L.A. Martin & Associates, moved to C.C. Pace Resources then returned to the production side of the business with Statoil Eneregy. During a four-year period, he was active in mergers, acquisitions and divestitures before finally returning to an extended career as a reservoir engineering consultant.

Bill became Director of Petroleum Engineering while at Marshall Miller & Associates for six years, before joining DeGolyer and MacNaughton, Inc. for twelve additional years where he became a Vice Pesident, working on reserve evaluations and reports for public companies in the U.S. Canada and several international countries.

Bill is a co-author of the SPEE Monograph 3, a Member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers and Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta. He has a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Tulsa and an MBA from the University of Virginia.


The following industry personnel are available to work on various projects, both domestically and internationally, that may require either expertise in a particular discipline or as an additional professional to facilitate timely responses to clients’ requirements.


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Senior Reservoir Engineer

Mel Hainey is a reservoir engineer/asset manager who has worked exclusively in those capacities for the past 24 years, providing production surveillance and forecasting, exploration and development project evaluations, acquisition and divestiture evaluations and reserve report preparation and reviews. He is highly skilled in volumetric, material balance, decline curve and rate transient analysis reserve evaluation methods, as well as petrophysical analysis for shaly sands and artificial lift and compression evaluations. In addition to his reservoir work, he has an extensive background in drilling, well completions and production for both conventional (South Texas, East Texas, Gulf of Mexico and Permian Basin) and unconventional operations (Haynesville, Barnett Shale, Eagle Ford, Eaglebine and Wolfcamp). Mr. Hainey has exceptional computer skills which he uses to apply his technical knowledge in a highly productive manner. He is skilled in the use of ARIES, PHDWin, Enerdeq, FieldDIRECT, RTA, Petra, GeoGraphix and MS Office.

He previously was Texas Asset Manager and Chief Reservoir Engineer for Davis Petroleum Corporation. Prior to that, he was a reservoir engineer for Penn Virginia Oil & Gas, KCS Resources/Petrohawk and El Paso Production/Coastal Oil & Gas. As a consultant, Mr. Hainey provided reservoir, drilling, well completion and operations management for offshore and international projects for The Huffco Group, Sonat, Baker-Hughes and Gulfstar Energy. He began his career at Exxon, where his engineering work included drilling, subsurface production and reservoir in South Texas as well as assignments in Exxon’s Headquarters Production and Alaska Interests groups.

Mr. Hainey holds a BSEE and MSE from University of Texas at Austin, and he has pursued post-graduate studies in petroleum engineering at Texas A&M University. He is licensed professional engineer in the State of Texas. He is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and the Tau Beta Pi, Pi Epsilon Tau, and Eta Kappa Nu engineering honor societies.


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Senior Reservoir Engineer

Lonnie Murphy is a senior reservoir engineer who has evaluated oil and gas fields throughout the Gulf Coast areas of Texas and Louisiana, as well as Oklahoma, West Texas, the Rocky Mountains and Appalachia. Recent focus areas include unconventional resources in the Permian, Williston, and Denver-Julesburg basins.

Murphy began his career in 1981 with Enserch Exploration Inc. in its Rocky Mountain District office where he evaluated reserves and performed economic analyses on drilling opportunities in several major Rocky Mountain basins. Murphy also gained operational experience with well completions, recompletions and workovers.

Murphy moved to a staff engineering position with Enserch in 1986 and worked on reservoir simulations encompassing multiple fields and formations. Murphy was promoted to District Engineer in 1991 in Enserch’s Gulf Coast District supervising the engineering staff. Murphy became Enserch’s Chief Engineer in 1996 with the primary responsibility of supervising the preparation of the annual reserves report required for corporate financial reporting.

Murphy joined DeGolyer and MacNaughton (D&M) in 1998 working in the Central Europe and Asia Division evaluating reserves associated with the largest gas and gas-condensate fields in Western Siberia and southern Russia. He also has international experience evaluating oil and gas fields in Azerbaijan, Libya, Syria, offshore Israel, offshore Norway and offshore UK.

In 2001, Murphy became responsible for the evaluation and preparation of year-end reserve reports in D&M’s North America Division. As Assistant Division Manager, Murphy supervised the creation of reserves reports prepared according to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) guidelines and Society of Petroleum Engineers’ Petroleum Resource Management System (PRMS) guidelines. He was elected a Senior Vice President with D&M in 2015.

Murphy has a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering from Texas A&M University and is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.


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Senior Reservoir Engineer

Ben Branum has forty-five years of experience as a reservoir engineer in both domestic and international valuations, including prospect generation, acreage acquisition, drilling and completion, well stimulation, production methods, contract negotiations and reserve and economic evaluation and forecasting. He has prepared evaluations of developed and undeveloped projects for filings and stock offerings with both U.S. securities and foreign exchanges, including the London Alternative Investment Market, and the Hong Kong and Toronto exchanges.

He has extensive experience in the evaluation of secondary and tertiary recovery projects and has worked throughout the international oil and gas arena, including China, South America, the Mid-East and other areas. During the past several years he has concentrated on projects involving certification of reserves in both conventional and unconventional reservoirs. He has provided expert witness testimony before the Texas Railroad Commission and the Louisiana department of Conservation.

Mr. Branum began his career in 1974 as a reservoir engineer for an interstate pipeline company, then joined an independent E&P company in 1980. He entered the consulting business with Ryder Scott Company in 1989 and was with Ralph E. Davis Associates, Inc. from 2003 through 2018. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri at Rolla with a B.S. degree in petroleum engineering. He is a licensed professional engineer in the State of Texas.


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Senior Reservoir Engineer

Kent Lina has forty years of experience in the domestic oil and gas industry with strong emphasis in the basins of the Western United States. He has extensive experience in unconventional reservoirs, reservoir evaluating and reserve estimation for private and public companies, including regulatory filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He has served as Sr. Vice President of Engineering of a public E&P company responsible for over $2 Billlion in corporate reserves and a loan facility involving twelve banks.

Kent Lina began his career in the West Texas region in operations and developed expertise in field operations including drilling, completion and waterflood operations. He supervised both company operated and non-operated joint venture programs and provided expert testimony at regulatory hearings.

Mr. Lina moved to the Rocky Mountain region and became involved in evaluating properties for acquisitions and divestitures, as well as corporate exploration and development. He performed numerous reserve evaluations for financial and regulatory reporting requirements and supervised a staff of reserve evaluators for a public E&P corporation. During his past six years as an independent consultinig engineer, he has developed extensive analytical techniques related to various shale plays to identify successful completion methods and areas within the plays with increased chances of success.

Kent Lina holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Missouri-Rolla in Civil Engineering with a program emphasis in Petroleum Engineering and is a licensed professional engineer in the State of Texas.


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Senior Reservoir Engineer

David Cole is a reserve evaluation engineer with more than 28 years of domestic and international experience providing valuation, reserve reporting, and support for financings ranging from reserve-based lending to initial public offerings. He has generated reserve reports for use in U.S. and international stock exchanges. He has extensive experience in all areas of the U.S., both on and offshore, and internationally. He previously served as a Senior Reservoir Engineer at Ralph E. Davis Associates, where he provided asset evaluations and reserve reporting for a variety of domestic and international clients for acquisitions, divestments and financial requirements.

In the Republic of Argentina, he was the Reserves Manager as well as Production Manager for Central Resources, Inc., where he conducted reserve reporting, financials and reservoir engineering for all of Central’s operated fields in Argentina. Prior to that he served as Central’s Senior Reservoir Engineer in its Denver office. He has served as a Petroleum Engineer at TotalFinaElf and Reunion Resources Company (formerly Buttes Gas & Oil). He spent six years at Ryder Scott Company where he valued assets domestically and across the globe as part of the international group, primarily focusing on China and Egypt, with additional work on projects in Australia, Brazil, Canada, the North Sea, Venezuela, Russia, Pakistan, New Guinea and Kuwait, and later an additional six years at the consulting firm of Ralph E. Davis Associates, Inc.

He is adept with Aries, PhdWin, DI, 1Derrick, OGRE, PEEP and CrystalBall. Mr. Cole holds a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering from Texas A&M University.


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Senior Geoscientist

Kevin Lant has over 35 years of experience in the domestic and international energy industry as both an exploration and development geologist. He began his career as a geologist-geophysicist working various basins throughout the Mid Continent, Rocky Mountains and West Coast basins. He then worked within the Gulf Coast and Mid-Continent regions before beginning his international experience in Algeria and North Africa. Mr. Lant moved to Indonesia where he was instrumental in the discovery of significant gas reserves before returning to the United States as an independent consultant. He established his own international consulting firm in 1994 and evaluates exploration and production projects worldwide.

Mr. Lant has extensive experience related to the evaluation and management of exploration projects in both the domestic and international oil and gas arena, the direction of seismic studies and data reprocessing and interpretation, preparing regional play analyses and the evaluation of merger and acquisition opportunities and providing due diligence support and negotiation advisory services. He served as a part time faculty member at C.S.U.N. and has authored numerous field studies and development papers for clients throughout the world. He has taught an introductory geology course as an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma at Norman and maintains his independent consulting geoscience practice in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Mr. Lant received his Bachelor of Science degree in Geology from California State University at Northridge (“C.S.U.N.”) and his Master of Science degree in Geology from Ohio University. He is a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the American Institute of Petroleum Geologists, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and several geological societies such as OCGS, HGS, TGS and WTGS.