Executive shuffle at energy firm CEP

The Baltimore Sun

Stephen R. Brunner took over yesterday as president and chief executive of Constellation Energy Partners LLC, a gas and oil production company formed by Constellation Energy Group and taken public in late 2006.

Brunner, who joined the company as chief operating officer six weeks ago, replaces Felix J. Dawson, who led the company during its startup phase and will remain chairman of its board of managers.

Brunner's appointment came amid a series of management changes marking the next phase in the company's development. Primarily located in Houston, CEP acquires and develops oil and gas properties, including those divested by its corporate sponsor, Constellation Energy Group. It owns predominantly coalbed methane gas reserves in the Black Warrior Basin in Alabama and the Cherokee Basin in Oklahoma and Kansas.

Constellation Energy Group remains a minority stakeholder with a roughly 28 percent stake and provides management services through a contract with the company.

Before joining Constellation, Brunner, 49, was executive vice president of operations for Pogo Producing Co., which was acquired in November by Houston-based Plains Exploration and Production Co.

In addition to Brunner, CEP named Charles "Chuck" C. Ward chief financial officer and treasurer. Michael B. Hiney, who served as controller before the company's initial public offering, was named chief accounting officer. They replace Angela A. Minas, who resigned as CEP's chief financial officer, chief accounting officer and treasurer.

Ward currently serves as a vice president of Constellation Energy Commodities Group. Before joining the company, he held finance and asset management positions at Enron North America.

CEP's shares have fallen substantially in recent months as the entire sector has been hurt by changing market conditions. Its shares ended trading yesterday at $18.32 per share, down from a 52-week high of $50.74 Aug. 1.

paul.adams@baltsun.com

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