Mr Alex Underwood

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer

LLB, BCom (Hons)

Mr Underwood joined Empire Energy on the 6th March 2018 as Chief Executive Officer of its wholly owned subsidiary Imperial Oil & Gas Pty Limited. Mr Underwood was appointed as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Empire Energy Group Limited on 30th August 2018.

Mr Underwood has nearly 15 years of specialist upstream oil and gas investing and financing experience. Previously he spent 2 years with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Singapore as Director in the Natural Resources Division and 9 years with Macquarie Bank in Sydney and Singapore as Associate Director in the Energy Markets Division. Mr Underwood commenced his career at BHP Billiton Petroleum in Perth and Melbourne. Mr Underwood holds Bachelor Degrees in Commerce (Accounting) (Honours) and Laws (Certificate of Specialisation in Corporate and Commercial Law).

Mr Paul Espie AO

Chairman/ Non-Executive Director

Mr Espie was given an Australian Order for distinguished service to the mining and infrastructure sectors through financial advisory roles, to public policy development and reform, and to not-for-profit organisations.

Mr Espie was the founding principal of Pacific Road Capital, a manager of private equity funds investing in the resources sector internationally, in 2006. Mr Espie was Chairman of Oxiana Limited during the development of the Sepon copper/gold project in Laos (2000 to 2003) and prior to that Chairman of Cobar Mines Pty Ltd after a management buy-out in 1993. Mr Espie was previously responsible for Bank of America operations in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea and Chairman of the Australian Infrastructure Fund. Mr Espie is a Director of Aurelia Metals Limited, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Trustee of the Australian Institute of Mining & Metallurgy, Educational Endowment Fund, and a Director of the Menzies Research Centre.

Mr John Gerahty

Non-Executive Director

Mr Gerahty is a former investment banker and company director with wide experience in business and commerce. Mr Gerahty was a Founding Director of Macquarie Bank and has served as a director of a considerable number of publicly listed companies, including roles as Chairman of AFP Group PLC and MPI Mines Ltd. Mr Gerahty is currently Chairman of Hardie Grant Pty Ltd publishing group, its major shareholder Associated Media Investments Pty Ltd, and an associated company AMI Advertising Media Pty Ltd. Mr Gerahty is also a Director of Kaplan Partners Pty Ltd and Kaplan Funds Management Pty Ltd, as well as his family owned Liangrove group companies. Mr Gerahty was formerly a Director (and Chairman) of the Sydney Swans, a Director of Cricket NSW, and a Trustee of the SCG Trust.

Prof John Warburton

Non-Executive Director


Prof Warburton was appointed to the board of Empire Energy in February 2019. Prof Warburton has 35 years of professional oil and gas experience in operated and non-operated conventional and unconventional petroleum discovery, development and in new business delivery.

During his career John has worked in Western Europe, West Africa, Central Asia, Middle East, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and throughout the Asia Pacific Region including Australia and New Zealand. He has resided as an expatriate in a number of these regions where his values demand continuous focus on people, safety, cultural heritage and environment.

Prof Warburton’s career includes 14 years of senior technical and leadership roles at BP. He was Executive General Manager for Exploration & New Business at Eni in Pakistan, and until March 2018 John was Chief of Geoscience & Exploration Excellence at Oil Search Ltd.

Prof Warburton has been a Director of Empire’s wholly owned Northern Territory subsidiary, Imperial Oil & Gas Pty Limited (“Imperial”), since 2011 and was its Chief Executive Officer from 2011 to 2014. He continues to serve as a Non-Executive Director of Imperial.

Prof Warburton is a Non-Executive Director of ASX listed Senex Energy Limited where he also serves on the People & Remuneration Committee. Senex operates conventional oil and gas production and exploration activities onshore South Australia in the Cooper Basin and Coal Seam Gas developments in the Queensland Surat Basin.

Prof Warburton is a Visiting Professor in the School of Earth & Environment at Leeds University UK where he has also served for eight years on the External Advisory Board of ‘Petroleum Leeds’, the centre for excellence in Petroleum Engineering & Geoscience.

Mr Peter Cleary

Non-Executive Director

B.Com. & LLB

Mr Cleary was appointed to the board of Empire Energy in May 2020. Mr Cleary is a leader in the oil and gas sector. He holds relationships with commercial and government entities gained over a distinguished 29-year career representing Santos, the North West Shelf Venturers and BP in Asia. His executive career was in LNG, pipeline gas and chemicals operations.

Mr Cleary is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the Australia Japan Business Co-operation Committee and the Australia Korea Business Council. He is Chair and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Energy – SA Branch and the President of Water Polo South Australia.

He previously held positions as a Board member of the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA), the Australia China Council and the Australia Japan Foundation. He is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Senior Management

Mr David Evans

Chief Operating Officer

Mr Evans was appointed Chief Operating Officer in October 2019. Mr. Evans has 30 years’ global upstream oil & gas exploration, development and production experience in increasingly senior technical and managerial roles, with significant exposure to Australian and North American unconventional hydrocarbon plays.

Mr. Evans holds a BSc(Hons) degree in Geology from the University of London, a Postgraduate Diploma in Petroleum Exploration Geology from Oxford Brookes University and a Master of Applied Science from University of Canberra. David was also the recipient of the East Coles Corporate Performance Awards 2014 Best Operational Management, Energy Sector.

Dr Alex Bruce

Chief Geoscientist

Dr Bruce was appointed Chief Geoscientist in March 2020 to lead the Company’s technical analysis and understanding of it’s Northern Territory assets and the wider Basin.

Prior to joining the Company, Dr Bruce was most recently with Cooper Basin focused player Bridgeport Energy which is owned by New Hope Corporation.

He is a well-credentialed oil and gas professional serving in similar roles with other mid-cap ASX oil and gas companies including AWE (now Mitsui), Drillsearch Energy (acquired by Beach Energy) and ROC oil.

Dr Bruce is the President of the NSW Branch of the Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia and earned his PhD from the University of NSW in Reservoir Characteristics.

Mr Ben Johnston

VP Business Development

Joined Empire Energy as Vice President Business Development. Ben is an energy sector specialist having worked across M&A, ECM and debt / project finance transactions while at leading banks including RBC Capital Markets and Commonwealth Bank. Ben is a chartered accountant having trained with KPMG and holds an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management.

Ms Kylie Arizabaleta

Financial Controller

Ms Arizabaleta was appointed to the position of Financial Controller in March 2012. Prior to joining the Company, Kylie worked in the Audit division of Chartered Accounting firms as a senior and lead external auditor where she gained broad experience in Audit and other Assurance Services in small to medium enterprises, public listed companies and not-for-profit industries.

Mr Andrew Phillips

Company Secretary

Mr Phillips was appointed Company Secretary in November 2020. Mr Phillips has over 25 years’ experience working in senior financial and commercial management positions with public and multinational companies based in Australia and New Zealand and has served as Company Secretary for a number of ASX listed companies.