Reg Manhas

Lapis Energy

Editor's note: This profile is part of Hart Energy's 50th anniversary Hall of Fame series honoring industry pioneers of the past 50 years and the Agents of Change (ACEs) who are leading the energy sector into the future.

Reg Manhas Agents of Change

A lawyer with a love for oil and gas? That’s exactly what Reg Manhas is, and his experience in both fields has taken him far and wide.

After receiving his chemical engineering degree from the University of British Columbia in 1989, Manhas went to work for Petro-Canada in its engineering training program. After obtaining his engineering license, Manhas returned to school to become a lawyer. He then transitioned back to the oil and gas industry, but this time as legal counsel for Talisman Energy, where he soon became vice president of corporate affairs.

“I was asked by our CEO to kind of leave the legal department and create an external affairs sustainable function for the company,” Manhas told Hart Energy. “I then spent the next 20 years basically working in that space of corporate sustainability, stakeholder relations, government relations.”

During his time with Talisman, Manhas helped lead the company’s entry into the U.S. shale business, as well as entry into western Canada, Peru, Colombia and northern Iraq. In 2012, Manhas accepted a position as senior vice president of Kosmos Energy, where he helped build team communications functions, government relations functions, political risk functions, sustainability functions, and help the company manage its activities in West Africa.

Manhas succeeded because of his exceptional relatability and people skills.

“He’s got great empathy, a great understanding of people, great understanding of business, and he knows how to establish relationships that both identify opportunities and then allow us to access them, too,” said Brian Maxted, who hired Manhas at Kosmos. “He’s a very good kind of interpolator in negotiations as well. He can operate at multiple levels, as well, is as good at the technical level of the working level as he is in the C-suite and the boardroom.”

Manhas’ relational expertise has allowed him to work as an engineer, an attorney and a person who deals with local communities, whether in the Amazon jungle or in Western Canada with First Nations or in West Africa.

As CEO of Lapis Energy, his goal is to fund the best places to store carbon. He also looks to demonstrate that these projects can be developed in a safe and commercial manner.

“I think acknowledgement and awareness, not just within the energy industry, but more broadly within policy makers around the world, that if the planet is going to hit its carbon reduction targets by 2030, 2040, whatever the targets are that each country is setting, it’s going to be virtually impossible to hit those targets without carbon sequestration playing a major role.”

Jaxon Caines, Technology Reporter

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