Skip to main content
Management Team Houston, TX

USR Team

Members of the USR team have worked together for decades. They are highly experienced directional drillers, wireline operators and drilling engineers.

Management Bios

David LaPrade

J. David LaPrade


Nationality – USA
O&G Experience: 40+ Years

David has been actively involved in the development and commercialization of Ultra Short Radius Drilling since 1990. He has been directly involved in the planning and execution of more than 200 USR wells in the US, Oman, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Gabon, Myanmar and Indonesia. In 2000 he moved to Oman to manage the first USR contract outside of the US. After five years and three contract renewals with PDO, David moved to Mumbai, India. Here, he was responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of two Integrated Services Contracts in Gujarat and Assam States of India. David has published numerous articles about USR and spoken before dozens of organizations worldwide concerning its application.

Prior to forming USR Drilling Services in February 2005, David was an owner and officer of its predecessor companies: Direxco; Horizontal Ventures, Inc., Torch Drilling Services, and Torch International. Prior to his involvement in USR technology, he owned and operated oil and gas properties with more than 100 wells in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. He also owned non-operated interests in more than 220 wells in the Mid-Continent region of the US. His experience also includes the drilling of more than 40 conventional wells, operations of a gas gathering system and processing plant, and daily field operations including remedial workovers and well maintenance.

David holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Southern Methodist University..

John Ogden

John L. Ogden


Nationality – UK & USA
O&G Experience: 40+ Years

John has worked in oil & gas financial analysis, energy corporate finance, domestic and international negotiations, corporate and asset acquisition, business development and energy company management and development. After qualifying as a barrister in the UK in 1979, he joined Wood Mackenzie as a Senior Analyst providing a range of advisory services to oil companies and state entities and co-authoring the most authoritative reference work for North Sea petroleum operations, finance and economics. Then, at Sheppards & Chase in London he established and headed an energy corporate finance group and subsequently was appointed Managing Director of Finance for Energy in London. In the mid-1980s he left to pursue independent oil and gas activities, owning and operating oil and gas properties in Texas, Oklahoma and California and advising UK companies on acquisitions in the USA. In 1994 he co-founded Wood Roberts LLC in Houston, advising on mergers, acquisitions and equity and debt financings in the exploration and production and service sectors with an aggregate value of over $2.2 billion. He has been associated with the USR Group’s predecessor companies since 2008 and established the USR Drilling Group of companies with David LaPrade in 2015.

John holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB. Hons.) from Leeds University, England and is a non-practicing Barrister-at-Law.

Kamonchai Kesonpat

Kamonchai Kesonpat


Nationality – Thailand
O&G Experience: 35+ Years

Kamonchai Kesonpat has 35 years of O&G experience, including 14 years with the USR Drilling technology. He started his career with Esso Standard and later held various well engineering positions for Shell in Thailand and Oman for 16 years. During his PDO posting, his responsibilities included New Technology Well Engineering implementing USR projects in North and Central Oman while serving as the USR Focal Point in Mature Technology for Shell Group. From 2006 he managed projects and project start-ups for USRD in Turkey, India, Oman, Gabon, Pakistan, supported Indonesia projects followed by the project start-up for MOGE Myanmar 2013 USR campaign. He is currently managing the training and support for USR in China.

Kamonchai holds B.Sc. and M.Sc. Degrees in Physics from University of North Texas and Shell Round II Well Engineering Certificate.

Vinod Nandakumar

Vinod Nandakumar


Nationality – India
O&G Experience: 18 Years

Vinod Nandakumar is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and has 27 years of experience in Auditing, Accounting and Finance. He has been associated with the USR Group since joining Torch International, Oman, in June 2002 as Head of Finance and Accounting. He joined Well-Flow Drilling Services (subsequently USR Drilling Services) in February 2005 as Head of Finance and Administration. During his tenure, he has been responsible for treasury functions; preparation of financial statements and tax returns; and the coordination of logistical movement of all equipment and personnel.

Vinod holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from the Mahatma Gandhi University.

Mark Stevenson

Mark Stevenson

VP – Project Development

Nationality – USA
O&G Experience: 40 years

Mark has had an outstanding career in the energy industry with demonstrable entrepreneurial skills, strong operational and management experience and broad geoscientific expertise. Starting as a field-trained geophysicist with Western Geophysical, he became an expert in land and marine data acquisition and seismic data processing with Tensor Geophysical and served as vice-president for Petroleum Geo-Services.

He subsequently founded the highly successful marine data brokerage firm Diamond Geophysical Corp., and later established Geo-Texture Technologies which was the first company to commercialize curvature attribute technology and principal component analysis for noise reduction in seismic data.

Mark has designed, managed and generated structural 3D seismic attributes for 120 3D seismic acquisition projects. He leveraged Geo-Texture Technologies’ attribute analysis, Interpretation workflows and prospect generation into working interests in wells in the Barnett Shale and Austin Chalk.

Mark studied Advanced Seismic Attributes under Professor Kurt Marfurt at the University of Houston’s Applied Geophysics Laboratory and has co-authored several scientific papers on the subject.

Andrey Platunov

Andrey Platunov

Vice President – Stimulation & Completions

Nationality – Russia & USA
O&G Experience: 22 years

Andrey Platunov has experience in senior technical and managerial positions in North America, North Africa, Russia, and the Caspian regions. Initially, with Schlumberger, TNK-BP, and Ruspetro Companies, he worked on reservoir evaluations, well architecture, completions, and frac stimulation technologies.
Later he worked as director and M&A manager of producing assets in Texas for Matra Petroleum. Subsequently, Andrey moved to Lukoil as an M&A expert for the Houston-based team and later served on the Board of Directors and as CEO of Galveston Bay Oil & Gas, an operator and producer in Texas shallow waters. Before joining USR, Andrey developed North American business for Perfobore, focusing on near wellbore (less than 50 feet) ultra-short radius drilling, completions, and stimulations.

Andrey received the MSc in Petroleum Geoscience from Royal Holloway, University of London, the MSc in Petroleum Chemical Engineering from Gubkin Russian State University of Oil & Gas, and is currently in the MBA program with RICE University in Houston, Texas. Andrey is the father of three Texans and is an active sports athlete.

Cem Mindek

Cem Mindek

Drilling Projects Manager

Nationality – Turkey
O&G Experience: 14 years

Cem Mindek joined the USR Group in 2006 and has been working as Drilling Supervisor, Drill Site Drilling Engineer, Project Engineer & Project Manager in India, Oman, Indonesia, Gabon, Pakistan and China. He is involved in planning, execution & development of project. Prior to joining the USR Group, he worked as Rig Manager, Rig Superintendent and Production Engineer in various fields in Turkey with Amity Oil, Arar O&G, Merty Energy & Polmak.

Cem holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science Degrees in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering from Middle East Technical University, Turkey.

Dave Singh

Dave Singh

Operations Manager

Nationality – Canadian
O&G Experience: 39 years

David Singh serves as USR Drilling Group Operations Manager and possesses over 39 years of experience in the oil & gas industry with extensive knowledge in single shot to ultra short radius wells, re-entries, correction runs, multi-lateral, medium and long radius horizontal wells. He has worked in Western Canada, Mexico, USA, Ecuador, Indonesia, Africa and the Middle East, and has drilled in Bakken, Exshaw, Cardium, Viking, Lower Shaunavon, Montney/Doig, Duvernay, Permian, Eagle Ford, Ellenberger and Barnett formations to name a few.

David has served as Company Representative, Directional Well Planner and Directional Specialist for the USR Group since 2007. Since starting his career in 1981, he has worked for several companies, including Baker Inteq, Sperry-Sun International Abu Dhabi, Schlumberger D&M Indonesia, Halliburton (South America), Viking International Directional (Turkey), and Matrrix (Canada).

David’s education and training includes extensive knowledge of USR specialty drilling motors, Basic Magnetic Survey and Directional/Horizontal Drilling, Baker Hughes Inteq (1995), Extended Reach and Computer Science Software Engineering.

Razvan Dumitrescu

Razvan Dumitrescu

Senior Drilling Engineer

Nationality – Romania & Canada
O&G Experience: 29 years

Razvan Dumitrescu has in-depth experience in various well engineering positions, beginning in 1989 for 5 years with the Petromar Offshore Company, Romania, where he was a Drilling Engineer for offshore projects in the Black Sea. From 1995 to 2010 he worked in various positions for Baker Hughes Inteq: Directional Drilling Engineer for projects in Romania, Germany, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Poland, UK, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Hungary, Denmark, and Canada; (2005) Application Drilling Engineer in Houston responsible for projects in the Gulf of Mexico for Exxon, Apache, Hess, Chevron and ENI; (2007) Drilling Engineer/ Drilling Coordinator inhouse for BP in Trinidad & Tobago responsible for offshore gas exploration and coordination of tools and personnel for offshore activity. In 2010 he joined OMV-Petrom as a Senior Drilling Engineer/Technical Adviser for projects in Romania onshore and offshore (Black Sea). In 2013 he was responsible for planning and managing Ultra Short Radius projects for marginal fields in Romania. Since 2015 he has worked for the USR Drilling Group, involved in projects in the USA as a Drilling Engineer and Drilling Project Manager and internationally as Business Developing Manager.

Razvan holds an M.Sc. Degree in Petroleum Engineering from Petroleum University of Ploiesti, Romania.

Earl Berkheimer

Earl Berkheimer

Vice President of Drilling

Nationality – USA
O&G Experience: 34 years

Earl has been involved in directional drilling since the late 1980s, when he worked on projects involving the first generation of directional tools. He served as Shell International’s project manager for the implementation of Ultra Short Radius drilling from 2000 to 2004 and wrote the Shell manual for implementation and well selection for USR drilling.

He is the owner of a drilling engineering project management company that has drilled over 150 conventional horizontal wells in various basins in the US. His experience also includes many years of overseas work, drilling wells in over 20 countries.

Earl holds a BS in Petroleum Engineering from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

Joe Chavez

Joe Chavez

USR Team Leader

Nationality – USA
O&G Experience: 34 years

Joe spent 15 years with Pool Well Servicing as a Rig Operator prior to being specially selected to join Pool Horizontal Drilling Services Group in 1990. Working closely with Amoco Research where he participated in the drilling of over 200 test curves, he directly contributed to the development of the Amoco Rotary Steerable System. Many of his suggestions resulted in design changes that are standard in current drilling assemblies. Since 1995 he has been an integral part of the USR family, initially with its predecessor companies, Horizontal Ventures, Inc., Torch Drilling Services, Torch International and USR Drilling Services, and now with the USR Drilling Group. Joe has drilled USR wells in the USA, Oman, India, Gabon, Indonesia, Myanmar, Turkey and China.

Lawrence Felder

Senior USR Driller

Nationality – USA
O&G Experience: 36 years

Lawrence worked as a roughneck and driller for 17 years before going to joining the Amoco Research Center. While at Amoco, he worked on the development of the USR drilling technology and trained a number of drillers in its operation. He left Amoco in 1993 to join PetroUnion, which was later merged into Horizontal Ventures, and has been a senior USR driller for the USR Drilling Group and its predecessor companies since then. He has drilled USR wells in the USA, Oman, India, Gabon, Turkey and Indonesia.

Kelly Kent

Kelly Kent

Senior Directional Drilling Consultant

Nationality – Canada
O&G Experience: 33 years

Throughout most of his career, Kelly has been involved with MWD and directional drilling. He is experienced in Ultra Short Radius, Wireline, Wet Connect
Air Drilling, Under Balanced, Coiled Tubing, Short – Medium Radius Horizontals, Extended Reach, Foothills, Build & Hold, Vertical Performance, Anticollision, Positive and Negative Pulse, EM Tools, Collar Mounted, LWD, Gyro, Snubbing, PDM, Stabilized PDM, Rotary Steerable, Turbines, Rotary Assemblies, Sidetrack and Whip Stock.

After working as an MWD field engineer for Anadrill and as a directional driller for Newsco and Nevis Drilling Systems, he established Spur Consulting Ltd in 1998 and has provided directional drilling consulting services to several companies including Newsco, Omni, Pacesetter, MotorWorks, Phoenix Cantech, TNK, Petro Aliance, Lukoil, Noyabrsk, ROP Services, Storm Ventures International, Directional One Services, and Newsco/Al Ghaith.

Kelly has drilled wells in Canada, USA, Russia, Peru, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and China. He holds a Diploma in Petroleum Technology (Reservoir Major) from Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and studied at the University of Wyoming in the Bachelor of Science Petroleum Engineering program.

Fuguo Li

Fuguo Li

Founder and General Manager – Chenping

Nationality – China
O&G Experience: 24 years

Fuguo started work as a rig manager for Petro China in the Daqing oilfield in 1986, immediately after graduating from Daqing Oilfield Tech. He left PetroChina in 1995 to establish Daqing Jingtai Petro (originally named Daqing Oilfield Engineering Office), an oilfield consulting and workover service company. He was Vice General Manager of Jingtai Petro.

From 2004 to 2014, Fuguo provided workover and hydraulic fracturing services as a subcontractor to Jingtai when he rejoined Jingtai as Vice General Manager responsible for production operations, personnel management and technology. He was appointed General Manager in 2015 and, in 2017, established two companies to undertake all of Jingtai’s hydraulic fracturing and directional drilling contracts.

In 2018, in joint venture with USR Resources LLC, Fuguo founded Daqing Chenping Drilling Technology Service Co. Ltd (“Chenping”) to acquire an exclusive license to provide ultra-short radius drilling services in China.

Fuguo graduated from Daqing Oilfield Tech in 1986 with a Workover Associate Degree.

Yuchen Li

Yuchen Li

Co-Founder and Deputy General Manager – Chenping

Nationality – China
O&G Experience: 4 years

Yuchen combines his role at Chenping with engineering studies at Michigan Technical University. He has participated in the drilling of more than 20 USR wells in the drilling project in the Daqing Oilfield, been instrumental in creating a new management structure to integrate the USR Technology into Chenping workflow, is the lead marketer to Chinese oil companies of USR Technology and its related case histories, and has senior accounting and supply chain responsibilities.

Yuchen holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technical University and is also studying for a BS in Geological Engineering.

Contact Us