Hurricane Energy CEO leaves amid share crash

Shares of West of Shetland oil and gas explorer Hurricane Energy plc fell another 11% on Monday after it said CEO Robert Trice has resigned “by mutual agreement with the board.”

Hurricane also announced a review of its performance, highlighted “the need to strengthen the company’s balance sheet” and said the board is “keenly focused on the need to increase production …”

On May 22, shares of Hurricane Energy plunged almost 50% after it suspended its production forecasts. The company’s shares have fallen about 85% in the past year.

Trice will remain available to assist the company during a transition period of six months. 

Beverley Smith has been appointed interim chief executive Officer. 

Smith had a 30 year career with BG Group and has been a non-executive director of Hurricane since December 2019.  

Richard Chaffe, who has been acting chief financial officer since February 2020, has been confirmed as chief financial officer.

Hurricane’s largest shareholder is Hong Kong-based private equity group Kerogen.

Roy Kelly, who has been the Kerogen nominated non-executive director at Hurricane since 2016, has stepped down from the board and has been replaced with immediate effect by Alan Parsley, a member of the advisory board of Kerogen Capital.

Parsley is a geologist with over 50 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry, primarily at Shell where he held senior positions including global head of exploration.

In its outlook, Hurricane said: “Given the challenges experienced in sustaining the target plateau production rate of 18,000 bopd net from the existing two well configuration on natural flow, the Technical Committee will conduct a review of all available information, including recent dynamic performance data, and will re-examine the full range of possible geological and reservoir models …

“Given the difficult macroeconomic backdrop and the need to strengthen the company’s balance sheet, the board is keenly focused on the need to increase production, whilst also keeping capital expenditure focused and to a minimum.

“Principal among the near-term tasks of the interim chief executive officer will be to propose a revised forward activity programme in support of those objectives.

“The forward activity programme will be based on a prudent interpretation of field performance to date, including, for conservatism, the possibility of a shallower oil water contact …”

Hurricane chairman Steven McTiernan said: “The board commends Dr Trice’s pioneering efforts to explore the viability of the unique basement oil play west of the Shetlands.

“His dedication over a period of 16 years has built Hurricane into a recognised UK operator today, culminating in the outstanding success of delivering first oil in May 2019.

“As we move into a phase where the focus is on enhancing production, I am very pleased that Beverley has taken on the role of Interim CEO where her extensive subsurface and development experience will be of huge benefit to the company.

“In evaluating options for the forward work programme against an uncertain macroeconomic backdrop, we will prioritise early low-cost production with the capital discipline needed to achieve financial resilience.”