Junior gas explorer Metgasco has accepted the resignation of its CEO Peter Henderson as part of a strategic review that could see the company wound up before the end of the year.
Mr Henderson, who steered the company through what it describes as a ‘challenging period’, left Metgasco yesterday with a $330,000 golden handshake, ‘in accordance with his contractual entitlements.’
He will not be ‘imminently’ replaced, with the company saying in an ASX announcement that the board ‘is presently confident it has the necessary resources to pursue its primary objectives, of identifying and pursuing new business opportunities in the oil and gas sector while managing costs and capital in a manner consistent with maintaining and creating value for shareholders.’
Failed business model
Gasfield Free Northern Rivers spokesperson Dean Draper told Echonetdaily the community welcomes Mr Henderson’s departure and that much of the pain Metgasco shareholders are now experiencing was unnecessary.
‘It’s finally dawned on Metgasco that their business model is never going to work. It looks like the company is on its way out and if they had listened to the community much earlier a lot of the pain for shareholders probably wouldn’t be there,’ he said.
‘My words of advice to the company board would be to invest in renewable energy because bringing in fossil fuels and chemicals into the northern rivers [made it] a toxic environment for that company.
Mr Draper went on to remind the community that the battle to have the north coast declared CSG free is not over, with today being the deadline for submissions on the contentious Draft North Coast Regional Plan, which advocates the mining of CSG in the future.
‘If people can get their submissions in now it would be helpful. We will not have permanent protection until we have some sort of legislation to make gas mining off limits in the northern rivers,’ he said.
The company says it retains $28,621,841, equivalent to $0.0715 per share and will continue to ‘pursue its primary objectives, of identifying and pursuing new business opportunities in the oil and gas sector while managing costs and capital in a manner consistent with maintaining and creating value for shareholders. ’
But it has ruled out risky investments or mergers that would ‘result in all, or most of, the company’s financial resources being allocated to either single project, or to exploration, risk’
Metgasco says that if it does not find a suitable venture to invest in, it will consider’ a return of capital’ (ie winding up the company) ‘early in the second half of 2016.’
Metgasco sold its major resource, CSG exploration and production licenses in the northern rivers, back to the sate government for $25 million on December 16 last year after a protracted community campaign and the government moving to suspend drilling at Bentley following a massive blockade.