Management Team

Highly skilled individuals with diversified business skills and experience, gained from different backgrounds and international exposures.

Ning Zhang

Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Zhang is a founder of Ping Petroleum and has over 20 years of experience in oil and gas business.

Prior to founding Ping Petroleum, Ning served in a number of petroleum engineering, corporate planning, risk management, commercial and asset management roles at Newfield Exploration. Ning spent six years in Malaysia and was Commercial Manager and Asset Manager for one of the largest offshore projects for Newfield; the East Piatu project, bringing on first oil within three years of PSC signing. Ning was also instrumental in capturing new Production Sharing Contracts for Newfield from PETRONAS, Malaysia’s national oil company.

Ning led the Anasuria cluster negotiation with Shell and Exxon and subsequently led the Anasuria transition; resulting in the successful transfer of Operatorship to a new entrant in UK North Sea within 8 months.

Ning has a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin (USA) where he was distinguished as the Leader-Scholar of the Year for the College of Engineering. He also has an M.B.A. from Rice University (USA).

Paul Baltensperger

Chief Operating Officer

Mr. Baltensperger is a founder of Ping Petroleum and has over 30 years of industry experience in geophysics and geology.

He has a proven track record in identifying opportunities and creating value through capturing and managing oil and gas assets. Prior to founding Ping Petroleum, Paul was a key member of the startup team for Apache’s Egypt operations where he helped grow the production from 3,000 barrels/day to over 100,000 barrels/day. Paul then spent ten years focusing on South East Asia for Newfield. He was Asset Manager of Newfield’s offshore operated blocks in Sarawak and was instrumental in capturing over 3tcf of gas discoveries for Newfield Malaysia. Paul has also served as New Ventures Manager, Exploration Manager and Geoscientist/Geophysicist in Newfield, Apache and Oryx Energy.

Paul was part of the Anasuria cluster negotiation team with Shell and Exxon and led the subsurface transition team; resulting in the successful transfer of Operatorship to a new entrant in UK North Sea within 8 months.

Paul has a B.S. in Geology and with a minor in Geophysics from New Mexico State (USA) and a M.S. in Geology from the University of Texas at Austin (USA). Paul has also published numerous technical papers throughout his career.

Wai Peng Lai

Commercial Vice President

Ms. Lai has 15 years of industry experience in oil and gas exploration, downstream and petrochemical business.

Wai Peng has extensive experience in corporate finance, strategic capital management, mergers & acquisitions, transition management and has led E&P commercial evaluations, negotiations and set up of risked economic models.

She has also held roles in Anasuria Operating Company namely planning, budgeting, project investment evaluations, crude marketing & scheduling, hydrocarbon forecasting and hydrocarbon allocation. Wai Peng also played a key role in capital structure evaluations, financings and relationship management with bankers and investors.

She was part of the Anasuria cluster negotiation team with Shell and Exxon and led the HR, hydrocarbon accounting and commercial transition teams; resulting in the successful transfer of Operatorship to a new entrant in UK North Sea within 8 months.

Prior to joining Ping Petroleum, Wai Peng held a senior position in the management consulting practice of Accenture and has led corporate strategy, operational excellence and organizational transformation projects for major Oil and Gas companies in Malaysia, UK and Perth.

Wai Peng has a BSc (Honours) in Chemical Engineering from National University of Malaysia.

Richard Beattie

Finance Vice President

Mr. Beattie has 13 years of industry experience in oil and gas exploration business; with experience in petroleum accounting, finance, business planning and process improvement.

Richard was formerly the Business Finance Manager of Dana Petroleum with financial responsibility for the UK and African assets which includes financial closing, planning and forecasting reporting. He also held direct responsibility for Dana’s Non Operated Production and is part of the Commercial Contract Review Board member to review all commercial activities.

Prior to Dana, he was with Hess Corporation and held various roles namely Country Finance, Planning and Commercial Manager (Denmark), Accounting and Business Performance Manager (Malaysia) and Business Performance Specialist (Houston).

Richard is a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CIMA Qualified) with a BA (Honors) in Business Studies from The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland.

Pierpaolo Rocco

Development & Facilities Vice President

Mr. Rocco has over 20 years of worldwide professional experience, the vast majority of them devoted to the execution of capital intensive projects.

Prior to joining Ping, Pierpaolo served in key positions for Tier-1 Operators (Total, Eni, Shell) as well as Contractors (Subsea7, SBM, Saipem). His experience spans from field development to late-life extension strategies; from EPCIC of subsea infrastructure to surface production facilities; from near-shore/landfall works to large deepwater developments.

Pierpaolo has an in-depth industry knowledge, a strong organisational and operational experience and a proven, consistent track record of successful project delivery, performance improvement and change management.

Pierpaolo has an MSc in Naval Architecture from the Polytechnic School (SPSB) of the University of Naples “Federico II” (Italy) and an MBA in Oil & Gas Management from the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen (UK).

Christopher Prior

Legal Counsel

Chris Prior has over 25 years’ experience as a lawyer in the oil and gas industry.

Mr Prior began his legal career in 1990 with Theodore Goddard in the City of London, before moving to the London office of Houston oil and gas firm Vinson & Elkins in 1994, becoming an equity partner in 2000. He moved to the London office of 1500 lawyer New York firm LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae (subsequently Dewey & LeBoeuf) in 2004, where he became the Co-Head of their Oil and Gas Global Industry Sector Group and a member of the London Management Committee. Chris left Dewey & LeBoeuf in 2010 to set up his own oil and gas legal consultancy.

Chris has been published and has spoken on the law as it relates to energy transactions. He has been named in the highly respected Euromoney Guide to the World's Leading Energy & Natural Resource Lawyers as a leading practitioner in the field of energy and natural resources law.

Chris is an English solicitor with extensive experience in UK and international mergers and acquisitions (both in share and asset deals), joint ventures, private equity transactions and oil and gas contract negotiations. His clients include major multinational and independent oil and gas companies, small and mid-size E&P companies, private equity houses, lending houses, developers of infrastructure projects, engineering firms, oilfield service companies and law firms in their representation of energy industry clients.

Chris is a member of the Law Society of England and Wales and the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators.