Our Management Team
Michael A. Oestmann
Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Oestmann has over 30 years of experience in all aspects of the oil and gas business, with a particular focus on company start-ups, exploration, asset management and development. Mr. Oestmann has experience in numerous geologic basins with primary focus in the Permian Basin and has a consistent record of increasing production in existing fields, exploration success and company development and sale. Mr. Oestmann began his career with Exxon Co. USA in 1982 after graduating from Rice University with a bachelor’s degree in geology with a geophysics option. He worked 15 years with Exxon, 7 years with Titan/Pure Resources/Unocal, 2 years with Celero/Whiting, and 1 year with Lothian Oil in various exploration, development and senior management positions. In 2007 he co-founded Piedra Resources with private equity partners. Piedra sold its assets to a Berry Petroleum in 2011 for over $120 million. Mr. Oestmann began Tall City Exploration in May of 2012 with a $200 Million equity commitment from Denham Capital. He is also President of LJean Resources, LLC, an oil and gas and real estate company, and has co-founded and advises several oil field service, production and realty companies. He is a 30 year member of the AAPG and SEG, member of the PBGS (having served as President) WTGS and SPE. He is a certified geologist with the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists and the DPA of the AAPG, and serves as an elder at Westway Church of Christ. He and Cathy, his wife of 28 years, live in Midland, Texas.
Vice President – Exploration and Geoscience
Chris Cuyler brings 23 years of oil and gas experience with particular emphasis on prospect generation and new opportunity capture resulting in the building of world class assets. Prior to joining Tall City Exploration, Chris served as Exploration Manager for Concho Resources and was instrumental in assembling their Delaware Basin position. Chris is a graduate of Baylor University (1992) and the University of Texas at San Antonio (1996) where he obtained a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science, respectively in Geology. He additionally completed Rice University’s Executive MBA in Energy Management in 2006. Mr. Cuyler began his geologic career as consulting field geologist for Exxon Company, USA in South Texas in 1993. Later he served in variety of geoscience and exploratory roles of increasing responsibility for Mobil Exploration & Producing U.S., Santa Fe Snyder Corporation, Devon Energy, Dominion Exploration & Production, and Cimarex Energy. Chris currently serves on the board of a two regional non-profit organizations, Midland Teen Court and Midland Energy Library.
Vice President – Drilling
Mr. Kruse has worked in various drilling and operations positions since receiving a BS degree in Petroleum Engineering in 1982 from Texas Tech University. He spent the first 15 years of his career with Gulf Oil Company and Chevron USA in the Permian Basin. Dennis worked as Drilling Foreman, Drilling Engineer, Superintendent, and Engineering Advisor across numerous areas. He gained experience while drilling deep Delaware Basin gas wells, underpressured (air) drilling environments, large infill waterflood projects, and numerous horizontal wells. Mr. Kruse formed Drillmark Consulting, an Engineering and Wellsite Consulting firm in 1997. During the period from 1997 – 2004, he managed numerous consultants and projects for various companies. Projects included wells in Texas, New Mexico, Lousiana, and Oklahoma. In 2004, he merged the firm with EPI Consultants, a subsidiary of Cudd Pressure Control, and served as VP/General Manager of that organization. From 2006 until joining Tall City Exploration, Mr. Kruse has been an independent Project Manager/Operator/Partner in several areas of Texas, including Wolfberry, Barnett Shale, 3rd Bone Springs and other plays. Dennis is a member of SPE and a founding member of the AADE in the Permian Basin.
Michael V. Marziani
Chief Financial Officer
Prior to joining Tall City, Mr. Marziani spent five years as an investment banker and Principal with Greenhill & Co., a boutique M&A advisory firm. He helped to found Greenhill’s Houston office and advised on a number corporate energy M&A transactions, most notably: the $4.8 billion Devon Energy/Crosstex midstream combination in 2013, Linn Energy’s $4.9 billion acquisition of Berry Petroleum in 2013, Superior Energy Services’ $3.2 billion acquisition of Complete Production Services in 2011 and BJ Services Company’s $7.6 billion merger with Baker Hughes in 2009. Prior to his time at Greenhill, Mr. Marziani was a Vice President with Merrill Lynch and spent over five years in the Global Energy & Power investment banking team in Houston. While at Merrill Lynch, he was a member of transaction teams that completed over $6.5 billion in energy-focused M&A advisory transactions and over $13.5 billion in capital markets underwriting transactions. Prior to joining Merrill Lynch, he worked in a variety of petroleum and reservoir engineering roles for BP in Houston. Mike holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rice University and received an M.B.A. with high honors from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.
Vice President – Land and Legal
Angela Staples has 10 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law in 2003. She is admitted to both the Texas and New Mexico bars, and is board certified in Oil, Gas, and Mineral Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She began her legal career at Cotton, Bledsoe, Tighe & Dawson, P.C., in Midland, Texas. For over four years, she practiced in the litigation section, where she represented oil and gas operators and service companies in disputes involving contracts, environmental issues, and intellectual property. She joined three other attorneys and helped open a new law firm, where she where she focused her practice on assisting both large oil and gas operators, as well as smaller independents, by rendering title opinions as well as by reviewing and drafting contractual documents, such as joint operating agreements, farmout agreements, surface agreements, conveyances, master service agreements, easements, and leases. Angela also provided counsel to her clients with respect to everyday operations, surface disputes and property losses. Prior to coming to Tall City Exploration, LLC, as Vice President of Land and Legal, she was a Senior Attorney at Davis, Gerald and Cremer, P.C. Angela currently serves as the General Counsel to the Permian Basin Petroleum Association, which provides legislative and regulatory advice and representation for oil and gas operators in Texas and New Mexico. Angela authors a monthly article for their magazine, PB Oil & Gas, which typically consists of recent case law review and analysis that relates to the oil and gas industry.
Vice President – Operations
Mr. Womack formerly served as Engineering and Operations Manager of Chi Energy, Inc. He has extensive operational and engineering experience in the Permian, Delaware, and Midcontinent producing basins. He began his engineering career with Oxy USA after graduating from Texas Tech University with a M.S. in Petroleum Engineering. His ten years at Oxy included supervision of various projects in the Permian basin of West Texas and Delaware basin in New Mexico. Mr. Womack left Oxy as an Engineering Advsior in 2002 to join Chi Energy where his focus included acquisition and implementation of drilling and producing projects in Texas and New Mexico.