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4 February, 2008 - 04:37 By Staff Reporter

Sterling moves into growth phase with major reshuffle

Independent oil and gas exploration and production firm, Sterling Energy has announced a major board reshuffle, with its FD, Thomson moving into the CEO's chair.

 The Herts-based firm said that its current CEO, co-founder Harry Wilson, who has held the position since listing on AIM five years ago, is to be succeeded by FD Graeme Thomson. It said that Wilson will now focus primarily on business development opportunities which will 'assist Sterling to implement its growth strategy more effectively.' His successor, who has served as FD and company secretary for and been responsible for the company's US business for five years, will move into the position in order to carry out its growth strategy and to maximize value for its stakeholders, Sterling said. To complete the reshuffle, the company has imported Jonathon Cooper from Gulf Keystone Petroleum into the role of FD, and announced the resignation of its commercial director, Paul Griggs, effective April 30. "These changes will enable Sterling to focus on working its asset base more effectively and to fulfill its development potential," said chairman, Richard Stabbins. "With our bank debt now refinanced, we expect that 2008 will be an exciting year as a result of our investments in production and exploration." In an update on its continuing operations, the company said that it expects drilling prospects for the year to significantly alter its reserves base, with major upside potential at Gabon and Madagascar. It said talks are in progress regarding a possible early drilling on a significant prospect offshore Madagascar. It said that net production for the USA operations at the end of 2007 was  approximately 4,800 boepd, of which about 80 per cent was gas, adding that it expects US capital expenditure programme for 2008 to be $45m-$50m with major focus on appraisal and development drilling. "We expect to drill prospects in the coming year that could significantly alter the reserves base of Sterling," said new CEO, Thomson. "Whilst we have a number of challenges to deal with, I believe our experienced and dedicated team can ensure success." Shares in the micro-cap have grown by five per cent to 10.5p.

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