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Byron Shire
April 19, 2021

Metgasco CEO quits with $330,000 golden handshake

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Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson has resigned with a $300,000 golden handshake and the prospect the company will be wound up. Photo Metgasco website
Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson has resigned with a $300,000 golden handshake and the prospect the company will be wound up. Photo Metgasco website

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.

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  1. If you want to see the Northern Rivers region declared a CSG exclusion zone then please take the time to write a submission to the NSW Draft North Coast Plan. Submissions close Today, the 2nd June and should be emailed to [email protected]. It doesn’t have to be a long or detailed submission.

    To View the draft plan (p.28-31 mention CSG) – http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/~/media/Files/DPE/Plans-and-policies/draft-north-coast-regional-plan-2016.ashx

    Feel free to copy my letter which follows:
    It appears that whoever wrote the Draft North Coast Regional Plan has neither lived in or visited the region in the last three years, given its insistent promotion of the Clarence-Morton basin with its coal and CSG ‘assets’.

    It is as if the Bentley blockade never happened, and the actions of your government in halting Metgasco’s mining permit and your ultimate buyout of Metgasco’s licenses were all for nothing.

    Instead, your government seems determined to recoup your costs of buying out Metgasco by reselling the mining rights to a multinational mining company. If there were any doubt about this, the revelation that more than 200 copies of a DVD promoting CSG ‘assets’ in our region at a mining conference in Canada have put the lie to that.

    National Party politicians can wriggle around as much as they want, claiming the DVD’s release and the mention of CSG in the Draft North Coast Plan were some kind of ‘oversight’ and ‘of course’ we are all happily CSG-free up here, so far from Macquarie Street.

    But the reality is that we are very much exposed unless –and until – the region is declared a CSG-free zone, as is the case in the Hunter Valley, where some very rich government donors happen to live.

    And the next company to come along will not be two-dollar outfit like Metgasco but a major multinational, which won’t take our objections lying down.

    And with the Trans Pacific Partnership now in place, such companies will have no compunction in suing your government if you renege on your agreements.

    There is absolutely no way the people of the northern rivers will accept your document and its stated intentions lying down.

    If your government wants to see the seat of Ballina (and likely Lismore and Tweed as well) in the hands of the Greens permanently you should go ahead and implement this plan.

    Otherwise, it would be wise for you to withdraw your promotional DVDs and rewrite your North Coast Regional Plan to truly reflect the needs and desires of the local community.


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