Denver, CO

Civitas Resources hires chief legal officer as general counsel retires

Matt Whittaker

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Image from a Civitas Resources investor presentation showing oil and gas acreage holdings.Screenshot of Civitas presentation

By Matt Whittaker / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) Texas-based energy lawyer Travis Counts will become chief legal officer for Civitas Resources on Aug. 1, replacing outgoing general counsel Cyrus Marter, the oil and gas company said Wednesday.

Counts is relocating to Civitas’s Denver headquarters from Houston-based energy law firm Bracewell, where he is a partner based in Midland, Texas.

Before joining the law firm, Counts served as general counsel for Concho Resources, where he worked on its 2021 acquisition deal by ConocoPhillips. Before working at Concho, he held legal positions at Petrohawk Energy and Halcon Resources. 

“Travis brings significant transactional, integration and leadership experience that will be critical to the continued evolution and success of Civitas,” CEO Chris Doyle said in a statement.

Counts declined an interview, saying he hadn’t coordinated further public statements with the company. 

As the chief legal officer, Counts will navigate a changing oil and gas industry amid a push for more renewable power sources. 

He will also have to deal with Colorado oil and gas regulations that are some of the strictest in the nation after sweeping legislation in 2019. 

Amid the changing business and regulatory landscape, Civitas is riding a wave of oil and natural gas prices that are much higher than they were a year ago. In its most recent quarterly financial report, the company said it swung to a profit as it sold more oil and gas and received higher prices for those commodities than in the comparable quarter in 2021.

Oil prices have come down some in recent weeks as record high gasoline prices cause people to drive less and traders worry that the Federal Reserve’s campaign to combat inflation may send the economy into a recession. 

Still, the benchmark U.S. crude oil price is around $110 a barrel, well up from its roughly $73 price a year ago.

Oil prices spiked as the Russia-Ukraine war roiled the global oil market. But prices rose even before the war because domestic oil and gas companies weren’t drilling enough new wells to keep up with supply as the worldwide economic recovery from the pandemic generated more demand. 

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Matt Whittaker writes about natural resources industries, including oil and gas, mining, renewable energy, agriculture and cannabis. He's been based in the Denver metro area since 2013. You can follow him on Twitter @mattswhittaker.

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