Former Fianna Fail energy minister Conor Lenihan has hooked up with shale oil pioneer Oisin Fanning's €180m-valued San Leon Energy. Mr Lenihan has joined the board of the AIM-listed company's Polish arm.
Mr Lenihan served as Minister for State for Energy, Science, Technology and Innovation from 2009 until the fall of the Fianna Fail government in 2011. Recently, he told the Sunday Independent how he was carving out a key role in the development of an €8bn plan to create Russia's own ' Silicon Valley' on the outskirts of Moscow.
Mr Lenihan is the point man for major international companies seeking to set up research and development operations at the vast new complex called Skolkovo. A number of Irish companies are understood to have expressed an interest in establishing units there.
The former politician's boardroom role at San Leon Polish arm will see him pitched in to one of the fastest-growing sectors of the resources industry.
San Leon Energy floated on London's AIM market in 2008 and rapidly bulked up through a series of buyouts and asset purchases. The company positioned itself as a 'shale oil' explorer, tapping into huge investor demand for new ways of extracting oil and gas from the ground. Shares soared, valuing the company at as much as €300m.
The company's backers, including chairman Mr Fanning, were sitting on paper fortunes. However, shares tumbled following poor results, although since July shares have doubled in value.
Last week, San Leon energy announced a deal with energy giant Serica on part of its Moroccan offshore assets.