SOURCE: High Plains Gas

February 01, 2011 11:32 ET

High Plains Gas Appoints Three Additional Members to the Board of Directors

New Independent Majority Board Improves Corporate Governance

GILLETTE, WY--(Marketwire - February 1, 2011) - High Plains Gas, Inc. (OTCBB: HPGS) ("HPG" or "the Company"), a Gillette, Wyoming based energy company actively engaged in the acquisition, development and production of natural gas primarily in the Powder River Basin, today announced that the Company has appointed three new independent members to their Board of Directors -- Al Smith, Gary Davis and Cordell Fonnesbeck. With these appointments, the size of the board is increasing from two to five members, three of whom are independent.

"On behalf of High Plains Gas, we would like to warmly welcome Al, Gary and Cordell to our Board of Directors. Al brings with him over forty years of business development, management and oil exploration experience to HPG. Gary has spent more than three decades in various positions within the natural gas space and has a vast array of experience in due diligence, legal, business development and economic analysis. Cordell has thirty eight years of experience in accounting, auditing, tax preparation and planning, having worked with our predecessor High Plains Gas LLC for several years. All three gentlemen will be of tremendous value to HPG as we continue to grow our business in the region," commented Mark Hettinger, Chairman of High Plains Gas. "In addition to the experience that Al, Gary and Cordell bring to our board, they also will provide a fresh, autonomous viewpoint to our business strategies, projections, operations and execution as well as enhance our corporate governance efforts. We are pleased to have them as independent directors on our Board and look forward to their many contributions in the time ahead."

Al Smith is an oil industry veteran, having worked in the sector for well over 4 decades. He is currently serving as a Geological Consultant to two Japanese companies and a Houston based oil company. From 1998 to 2003, he served as the Vice President, International Business Development for EEX Corporation where he is responsible for evaluating oil exploration and production projects in Asia and Australia. He has developed and managed many relationships with government oil companies in Indonesia, Brunei and New Zealand. Prior to his time with EEX, he worked for Pennzoil Exploration in a similar capacity where he oversaw the evaluation of exploration and development projects throughout the region and was responsible for developing and managing relationships with national oil companies and financial institutions. Mr. Smith has also held positions with Inexco Oil Company, Lear Petroleum Company, Davis Oil Company, Mountain Fuel Supply Company as well as Amoco Production Company. He has a B.S. in Geology and an M. Sc. in Geology from Brigham Young University. He is a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists and Wyoming Geological Association. 

Gary Davis, the President and Founder of Kahuna Ventures LLC, 1999, a natural gas processing, treating and project-consulting firm, has well over 32 years in the natural gas space. Kahuna Ventures currently has 40 employees, including 20 engineers and 7 field construction managers or inspectors. Previous to founding Kahuna, Gary worked at Western Gas Resources, Inc. for over 14 years. His tenure included holding such positions as Corporate Controller, Sr. Vice President of Engineering & Production, Environmental and Safety, Vice President of Southern Region and Vice President of Engineering & Environmental. During his time with Western Gas, he assisted in growing a 50-employee company into a major independent mid-stream corporation with over 950 employees and a gross income in excess of $1 billion. He has extensive experience in all project functions including due diligence, site and right of way acquisition, legal, environmental and permitting, safety and operations. He has a B.S. degree from the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) in Chemical and Petroleum Refining Engineering. He is a respected expert witness and public speaker, and is the holder of two industry-related patents.

Cordell Fonnesbeck is the owner and founder of his own public accounting firm, Cordell Fonnesbeck, CPA, P.C. since 1991. It is located in Casper Wyoming and caters to small and medium sized clients in the Casper and central Wyoming area with an emphasis in tax compliance, tax planning and accounting services. He has practiced accounting for more than 39 years. From 2005 - 2009, he was the accountant for High Plains Gas, LLC, which was the predecessor to High Plains Gas, Inc. He holds a B.S. degree in Accounting from Utah State University and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in California and Wyoming. He has been a Member of the American Institute of Public Accountants since 1974.

Al Smith, Gary Davis and Cordell Fonnesbeck will be effective February 1, 2011. They will join affiliated board members Mark Hettinger, Chairman and Joseph Hettinger, Director.

High Plains Gas, Inc. is a Gillette, Wyoming based energy company actively engaged in the acquisition, development and production of natural gas primarily in the Powder River Basin. Through its wholly-owned subsidiary CEP - M Purchase LLC, the Company owns the former Marathon "North & South Fairway" assets. These assets consist of 1,614 Coal Bed Methane Wells with associated flow lines and over 155, 000 net acres. This combined with the company's existing 92 natural gas wells gives the company a strong foundation in the natural gas industry. High Plains Gas will pursue expansion opportunities for the profitable production and transmission of natural gas. High Plains Gas believes it has unique expertise and experience in the refurbishment and reactivation of wells that produce natural gas from coal bed methane formations that helps position it strategically in the Powder River Basin.

Statements made about our future expectations are forward-looking statements and subject to risks and uncertainties as described in our most recent filings made with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, and are subject to change at any time. Our actual results could differ materially from these forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statement.

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