Management 2018-06-19T09:42:26+00:00

NextDecade Senior Leadership

Matthew Schatzman
Matthew SchatzmanPresident & CEO

MR. MATTHEW SCHATZMAN – President & Chief Executive Officer

Matthew (Matt) Schatzman is President & CEO of NextDecade Corporation (NASDAQ: NEXT), a liquefied natural gas company focused on LNG export projects and associated pipelines in the State of Texas. NextDecade intends to develop a portfolio of LNG projects, including the 27 mtpa Rio Grande LNG export facility in Brownsville, Texas and the 4.5 Bcf/d Rio Bravo Pipeline that would transport natural gas from the Agua Dulce supply area to Rio Grande LNG.

As President and CEO, Schatzman is responsible for advancing the core business priorities of NextDecade, building critical organizational infrastructure and driving commercial delivery as the Company evolves from the development phases of its Rio Grande LNG and Rio Bravo Pipeline projects and into construction and operations.

Schatzman joined NextDecade in September 2017 with nearly 30 years’ experience in the energy industry, including in senior executive roles with BG Group and Dynegy.  Schatzman’s unique contributions to the transformative growth of BG Group’s global LNG business as well as his recognized expertise as a strategic thinker with a keen execution focus makes him uniquely suited to steer NextDecade through to its final investment decision. In addition to managing an international portfolio of LNG, shipping and commodity trading positions, Schatzman’s expertise extends to hedging, risk management and process improvement across a diverse portfolio of development and operating assets.

Schatzman graduated from Yale University with a BA in Political Science and has been an active member of several energy industry boards and associations.

René van Vliet
René van VlietChief Operating Officer (COO)

MR. RENÉ VAN VLIET – Chief Operating Officer

René van Vliet is Chief Operating Officer of NextDecade Corporation (NASDAQ: NEXT), a liquefied natural gas company focused on LNG export projects and associated pipelines in the State of Texas. NextDecade intends to develop a portfolio of LNG projects, including the 27 mtpa Rio Grande LNG export facility in Brownsville, Texas and the 4.5 Bcf/d Rio Bravo Pipeline that would transport natural gas from the Agua Dulce supply area to Rio Grande LNG.

As Chief Operating Officer, van Vliet is responsible for developing midstream LNG solutions globally. van Vliet worked at Shell International for nearly 32 years and has been involved in LNG developments since 1992, when Shell started developing Guangdong LNG in China as a new market for LNG, followed by India and South America. As Vice President, Global LNG, Shell Gas & Power, he was responsible for a global LNG project portfolio including floating LNG, regasification, and small-scale LNG, focusing on new market development, commercial and technical assessment across the value chain, and joint development / joint venture negotiations.

As the business sponsor for Shell Gas & Power’s R&D program, van Vliet was responsible for driving innovation and commercialization of new technology. In earlier roles, van Vliet was responsible for business development and project portfolio activities with NOC and IOC partners in Asia, including China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Thailand, and Indonesia. In the early part of his career, he was construction manager and project manager for a number of Shell’s refinery and gas projects.

van Vliet holds a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the Technical University Eindhoven.

Ben Atkins
Ben AtkinsChief Financial Officer (CFO)

MR. BEN ATKINS – Chief Financial Officer

Ben Atkins is Chief Financial Officer of NextDecade Corporation (NASDAQ: NEXT), a liquefied natural gas company focused on LNG export projects and associated pipelines in the State of Texas. NextDecade intends to develop a portfolio of LNG projects, including the 27 mtpa Rio Grande LNG export facility in Brownsville, Texas and the 4.5 Bcf/d Rio Bravo Pipeline that would transport natural gas from the Agua Dulce supply area to Rio Grande LNG.

As CFO, Atkins is responsible for all finance functions, including strategy, growth, compliance, risk and performance management, capital allocation, and market positioning. Atkins brings the company substantial financial experience, particularly within the energy sector where he has managed debt and equity investments in power and midstream project companies.

Before joining NextDecade, Atkins served as Senior Vice President at GE Capital, where he spent 10 years. Prior to his tenure at GE Capital, Atkins served New York and Boston financial services clients at McKinsey & Company and worked as a risk manager in State Street Corporation’s Securities Finance division.

Atkins graduated as class valedictorian from the U.S. Naval Academy and proudly served in the U.S. Navy Submarine Force. He earned a Master of Arts degree from Oxford University. Atkins is a CFA® charterholder and a licensed Certified Public Accountant in Connecticut and Texas.

Krysta De Lima
Krysta De LimaGeneral Counsel

MS. KRYSTA DE LIMA – General Counsel

Krysta De Lima is the General Counsel of NextDecade Corporation (NASDAQ: NEXT), a liquefied natural gas company focused on LNG export projects and associated pipelines in the State of Texas. NextDecade intends to develop a portfolio of LNG projects, including the 27 mtpa Rio Grande LNG export facility in Brownsville, Texas and the 4.5 Bcf/d Rio Bravo Pipeline that would transport natural gas from the Agua Dulce supply area to Rio Grande LNG.

As General Counsel, De Lima is responsible for all legal and contractual matters affecting NextDecade. A practicing transactional lawyer for more than 20 years, she also acts as legal advisor to the CEO and Board of Directors.

After eight years in private practice with Arthur Andersen, De Lima spent twelve years developing BG Group plc’s investments in liquefied natural gas. First acting as lead counsel on various aspects of the company’s upstream, midstream and downstream development projects, De Lima went on to serve as Vice President, Legal, leading the legal team and advising on matters affecting BG Group’s investment in all four trains at Atlantic LNG, in Trinidad as well as its major producing and development assets in that country. De Lima was then appointed Chief of Staff, with direct responsibility for Government Relations, Contracts & Procurement and IT. Before joining NextDecade, De Lima spent two years as Senior Counsel with Bechtel’s Oil, Gas and Chemicals business unit based in Houston, advising on major engineering, procurement and construction transactions in the U.S. and overseas.

De Lima is qualified to practice law in New York, France, England, the British Virgin Islands and Trinidad and Tobago.

Alfonso Puga
Alfonso PugaSenior Vice President, LNG Marketing - Europe and South America

MR. ALFONSO PUGA – Senior Vice President, LNG Marketing – Europe & South America

Alfonso Puga is Senior Vice President, LNG Marketing, Europe & South America, of NextDecade Corporation (NASDAQ: NEXT), a liquefied natural gas company focused on LNG export projects and associated pipelines in the State of Texas. NextDecade intends to develop a portfolio of LNG projects, including the 27 mtpa Rio Grande LNG export facility in Brownsville, Texas and the 4.5 Bcf/d Rio Bravo Pipeline that would transport natural gas from the Agua Dulce supply area to Rio Grande LNG.

In his role, Puga is responsible for advancing prospective customer engagement in Europe and South America. He has spent more than 15 years in the natural gas and LNG industry, involved in a variety of commercial and trading roles.

He began his career with Spanish utility Gas Natural, working in a variety of roles related to the commercialization of natural gas to the industrial market. He also worked as Gas and LNG Procurement and Trading Manager at Union Fenosa Gas, another Spanish utility. In that role, he managed a portfolio of 6 bcm of LNG, responsible for the long- and short-term sales and purchases from the Dammietta Egypt and Qalhat Oman projects. Puga later joined Essent Trading as head of LNG trading, where he formed the trading desk by acquiring capacity in Gate terminal in the Netherlands and creating the commercial network to facilitate the trading of LNG.

Following RWE’s acquisition of Essent Trading, Puga created the LNG trading desk within the commodities division of Goldman Sachs. He coordinated LNG activities for the bank across offices in New York, London, and Singapore, and helped to open the bank’s Dubai office. Immediately prior to joining NextDecade, Puga supported Petronas’ LNG activities in the Atlantic basin.

Puga holds a degree in Industrial Electrical Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and earned an Executive MBA from the IMD-Lausanne.

James MacTaggart
James MacTaggartSenior Vice President, LNG Marketing - Asia

MR. JAMES MACTAGGART – Senior Vice President, LNG Marketing – Asia

James MacTaggart is Senior Vice President, LNG Marketing – Asia, of NextDecade Corporation (NASDAQ: NEXT), a liquefied natural gas company focused on LNG export projects and associated pipelines in the State of Texas. NextDecade intends to develop a portfolio of LNG projects, including the 27 mtpa Rio Grande LNG export facility in Brownsville, Texas and the 4.5 Bcf/d Rio Bravo Pipeline that would transport natural gas from the Agua Dulce supply area to Rio Grande LNG.

In his role, MacTaggart is responsible for advancing prospective customer engagement in Asia. He is based in, and leads, NextDecade’s Singapore office.

Before joining NextDecade, MacTaggart served more than 20 years with Shell in various marketing and trading positions. Recently he was General Manager of Shell’s New Gas and LNG Markets business in Asia, India, and the Middle East. During his time at Shell, MacTaggart originated, negotiated, and executed a significant number of deals in the upstream, gas and power, and LNG trading businesses. These activities included working to set up Shell Energy India, negotiating LNG sales contracts for the Sakhalin 2 LNG project, and selling some of the first LNG cargoes into the Middle East.

MacTaggart completed his undergraduate studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, and holds an M.B.A. with distinction from Cass Business School.

Ping Lee
Ping LeeSenior Vice President, LNG Marketing - China & Southeast Asia

DR. PING LEE – Senior Vice President, LNG Marketing – China & Southeast Asia

Ping Lee is Senior Vice President, LNG Marketing – China & Southeast Asia, of NextDecade Corporation (NASDAQ: NEXT), a liquefied natural gas company focused on LNG export projects and associated pipelines in the State of Texas. NextDecade intends to develop a portfolio of LNG projects, including the 27 mtpa Rio Grande LNG export facility in Brownsville, Texas and the 4.5 Bcf/d Rio Bravo Pipeline that would transport natural gas from the Agua Dulce supply area to Rio Grande LNG.

In his role, Lee is responsible for advancing prospective customer engagement in China and Southest Asia. He is based in, and leads, NextDecade’s Beijing office.

Lee is the former President and Asset General Manager of BG Group, China, a position he held until 2016. In that role, Lee was instrumental in building BG Group’s commercial and E&P interests; before its acquisition by Shell, BG Group had become China’s largest LNG supplier. Prior to his time with BG Group, Lee held positions of increasing management responsibilities with Schlumberger, ultimately serving as Area President of Schlumberger from 2007 until 2011. He began his career with Schlumberger as a Research Scientist in 1990 in Austin, Texas.

Lee holds masters and doctorate degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics, respectively, from Cornell University. He completed his undergraduate studies at the State University of New York in Buffalo. Lee serves on the Board of Directors of Cornerstone Bank in Atlanta, Georgia.

Shaun Davison
Shaun DavisonSenior Vice President, Development & Regulatory Affairs

MR. SHAUN DAVISON – Senior Vice President, Development & Regulatory Affairs

Shaun Davison is the Senior Vice President, Development & Regulatory Affairs of NextDecade Corporation (NASDAQ: NEXT), a liquefied natural gas company focused on LNG export projects and associated pipelines in the State of Texas. NextDecade intends to develop a portfolio of LNG projects, including the 27 mtpa Rio Grande LNG export facility in Brownsville, Texas and the 4.5 Bcf/d Rio Bravo Pipeline that would transport natural gas from the Agua Dulce supply area to Rio Grande LNG.

Davison leads the commercial project development for North America, specifically the Gulf of Mexico. An entrepreneurial professional with more than 20 years in the energy industry, Davison is a business development and infrastructure specialist with broad-based expertise in all aspects of the natural gas and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) industry and across the value chain.

Davison previously worked in the North American natural gas industry with Consolidated Natural Gas (CNG) and Dominion Resources, focused in the Financial, Corporate Strategy and Business Development & Marketing groups. Specific focal areas included major natural gas pipeline and storage projects, financial reporting of natural gas liquids, the financial modeling and market analysis for projects, market research and major M&A positions, including Dominion’s purchase of Cove Point LNG import terminal. Davison joined the LNG midstream marine industry with Teekay Corporation and then Excelerate Energy, leading global project development for LNG regasification opportunities in Israel, Puerto Rico, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Indonesia, The Philippines, Mexico and South Africa. He also managed the strategic analysis of small-scale LNG opportunities in the Caribbean markets and the Baltic region, and originated floating liquefaction programs in the US Gulf of Mexico.

A native of Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, Davison graduated cum laude from West Virginia Wesleyan College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Science & Economics, and from West Virginia University with a Master of Business Administration degree.

Chris Migura
Chris MiguraDeputy General Counsel

MR. CHRIS MIGURA – Deputy General Counsel

Chris Migura is the Deputy General Counsel of NextDecade Corporation (NASDAQ: NEXT), a liquefied natural gas company focused on LNG export projects and associated pipelines in the State of Texas. NextDecade intends to develop a portfolio of LNG projects, including the 27 mtpa Rio Grande LNG export facility in Brownsville, Texas and the 4.5 Bcf/d Rio Bravo Pipeline that would transport natural gas from the Agua Dulce supply area to Rio Grande LNG.

As Deputy General Counsel, Migura is responsible for supporting the broad commercial objectives of NextDecade, most notably the negotiation of LNG sale and purchase agreements.

Migura brings over 15 years of legal experience to NextDecade.  After three years in private practice with Vinson & Elkins, LLP from 2000-2003, Migura spent 13 years in various legal positions at BG Group where he played a material role in many of BG Group’s LNG projects and most recently led a legal team responsible for all of BG Group’s assets in North America, including BG Group’s LNG export projects and onshore unconventional assets. Before joining NextDecade, Migura spent a year as Assistant General Counsel at Occidental Petroleum, where he led a legal team responsible for supporting Occidental’s upstream oil and gas operations in the Permian Basin.

Migura holds an undergraduate degree in economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, a law degree from the University of Houston, and is Board Certified in Oil, Gas & Mineral Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Eric Garcia
Eric GarciaChief Accounting Officer

MR. ERIC GARCIA – Chief Accounting Officer

Eric Garcia is the Chief Accounting Officer of NextDecade Corporation (NASDAQ: NEXT), a liquefied natural gas company focused on LNG export projects and associated pipelines in the State of Texas. NextDecade intends to develop a portfolio of LNG projects, including the 27 mtpa Rio Grande LNG export facility in Brownsville, Texas and the 4.5 Bcf/d Rio Bravo Pipeline that would transport natural gas from the Agua Dulce supply area to Rio Grande LNG.

As CAO, Garcia is responsible for NextDecade’s accounting operations including financial reporting, audits, taxes, accounting staff, ledgers, budgeting, and processes.

Garcia was previously an audit managing director with KPMG LLP, where he spent 15 years serving companies in the LNG, oil and gas, and power and utilities industries.

Garcia received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the Anderson School of Management at the University of New Mexico. He is a Certified Public Accountant in Texas and New Mexico and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Patrick Hughes
Patrick HughesVice President, Corporate Strategy

MR. PATRICK HUGHES – Vice President, Corporate Strategy, External Affairs, and Investor Relations

Patrick Hughes is the Vice President, Corporate Strategy, External Affairs, and Investor Relations of NextDecade Corporation (NASDAQ: NEXT), a liquefied natural gas company focused on LNG export projects and associated pipelines in the State of Texas. NextDecade intends to develop a portfolio of LNG projects, including the 27 mtpa Rio Grande LNG export facility in Brownsville, Texas and the 4.5 Bcf/d Rio Bravo Pipeline that would transport natural gas from the Agua Dulce supply area to Rio Grande LNG.

In his role, Hughes is responsible for corporate strategy and business development activities including acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, and strategic partnerships. In addition, Hughes oversees Investor Relations and External Affairs for NextDecade.

Prior to joining NextDecade, Hughes was a Partner in the Investment Banking and Advisory (IBA) group at Height Securities, a Washington, D.C.-based broker-dealer. During his tenure at Height, Hughes focused exclusively on the energy and industrials sectors and he and his team were widely recognized as leading financial advisors in the global LNG marketplace.  While at Height, Hughes was an energy research analyst from January 2009 until March 2015, during which time he developed a significant LNG practice and, in that capacity, detailed knowledge and expertise across the competitive landscape of U.S. LNG projects. He led Height’s IBA group from April 2015 to September 2017.

Hughes was previously a senior associate in the energy and natural resources equity research group at FBR Capital Markets. Before entering the financial services industry, Hughes facilitated projects in Middle Eastern countries for a Washington-based strategic communications contractor, and served as a case manager for a business intelligence and corporate security firm.

Hughes was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. He holds a B.A. in Political Economy and Mandarin Chinese from Georgetown University.

Kevin Hyatt
Kevin HyattVice President, Gas Supply and Transportation

MR. KEVIN HYATT – Vice President, Gas Supply and Transportation

Kevin Hyatt is the Vice President, Gas Supply and Transportation of NextDecade Corporation (NASDAQ: NEXT), a liquefied natural gas company focused on LNG export projects and associated pipelines in the State of Texas. NextDecade intends to develop a portfolio of LNG projects, including the 27 mtpa Rio Grande LNG export facility in Brownsville, Texas and the 4.5 Bcf/d Rio Bravo Pipeline that would transport natural gas from the Agua Dulce supply area to Rio Grande LNG.

As Vice President, Gas Supply and Transportation, Hyatt is responsible for managing the feedstock gas supply purchasing and transportation into Rio Bravo Pipeline for ultimate delivery to the inlet of the Rio Grande LNG facility.  Hyatt joined NextDecade with over 30 years of energy and project development experience “from wellhead to burner tip” having held senior management roles with companies such as EnLink Midstream, Gavilon, Energy Transfer Partners, and Enron. His experience has included financial analysis, natural gas supply and marketing, liquid and gas pipeline asset development, gas processing, electric power marketing, NGL marketing, oil supply origination, and mergers and acquisitions.

Hyatt has an MBA in international finance from the University of Houston and BSBA from the University of Nebraska.  He was previously licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission as a securities principal.

Raquel Couri
Raquel CouriVice President, Human Resources & Administration

MS. RAQUEL COURI – Vice President, Human Resources & Administration

Raquel Couri is the Vice President, Human Resources & Administration of NextDecade Corporation (NASDAQ: NEXT), a liquefied natural gas company focused on LNG export projects and associated pipelines in the State of Texas. NextDecade intends to develop a portfolio of LNG projects, including the 27 mtpa Rio Grande LNG export facility in Brownsville, Texas and the 4.5 Bcf/d Rio Bravo Pipeline that would transport natural gas from the Agua Dulce supply area to Rio Grande LNG.

As Vice President, Human Resources & Administration, Couri leads not only the Human Resources function, but also manages the Facilities and IT departments.

Couri is a senior HR executive with more than 15 years of international experience across industries, but with a focus on the energy sector. Couri is responsible for resourcing the business on short-, mid- and long-term basis, ensuring NextDecade is a great employer of choice for top class professionals in the industry. Prior to NextDecade, Couri was the Head of HR for both BG’s Houston office and its global trading and shipping business in locations across the Americas, Europe and Asia. Before moving to Houston, Couri led the HR function for the BG Group in Brazil in its upstream asset division, overseeing the function for other Latin American countries too.

Couri has an Executive MBA in General Business Management from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), a Human Resource Speciliazation from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), and a BA in Psychology from Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora (UFJF).

Ariel Handler
Ariel HandlerVice President, Finance & Market Analysis

MR. ARIEL HANDLER – Vice President, Finance & Market Analysis

Ariel Handler is the Vice President, Finance & Market Analysis of NextDecade Corporation (NASDAQ: NEXT), a liquefied natural gas company focused on LNG export projects and associated pipelines in the State of Texas. NextDecade intends to develop a portfolio of LNG projects, including the 27 mtpa Rio Grande LNG export facility in Brownsville, Texas and the 4.5 Bcf/d Rio Bravo Pipeline that would transport natural gas from the Agua Dulce supply area to Rio Grande LNG.

As Vice President, Finance & Market Analysis, Handler supports the company’s financing and commercial objectives.

He brings strong experience in economic analysis, valuation, strategy and planning. Prior to joining NextDecade, Handler served as Manager of Strategic Planning at Apache Corporation where he played a key role in developing Apache’s short- and long-term term financial and operational plans, capital allocation strategy, and portfolio and scenario analysis. Most recently, he oversaw all planning activities for the company’s Permian, Midcontinent (Scoop/Anadarko Basin), and Gulf Coast regions.

Handler holds a BA with Honors in Mathematical Economic Analysis from Rice University.