Saturday 15 December 2018

CEO and founder of Dublin-listed oil and gas explorer PetroNeft retires

A Petroneft pipeline in Siberia
A Petroneft pipeline in Siberia
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Dennis Francis, chief executive and founder of Dublin-listed oil and gas explorer PetroNeft, has announced his retirement.

The decision comes after Mr Francis recently celebrated his 70th birthday.

He will remain as a non-executive director in the company, and has agreed to assist PetroNeft on a consulting basis, to ensure a smooth transition for his replacement, and to assist in examining options to maximise shareholder value, including the potential disposal  of Licences 61 and 67 in Siberia.

Mr Francis described his decision as “bittersweet,” as he said much of his life over the last 14 years has been devoted to developing the company's assets in the Tomsk Region.

"Despite the challenges of recent years, I believe that the company's asset base retains significant potential for material discoveries and developments and as a shareholder I will be keenly focussed on events over the coming years," he said. 

"I would like to thank my colleagues, board and shareholders for their support and encouragement throughout my time and sincerely wish my successor and the company well in the future."

Mr Francis founded PetroNeft in 2004 and has overseen its growth from a private company to a public company listed on the London AIM and Dublin ESM exchanges.

In that time, the company has evolved from an explorer to a production company employing over 170 people in the Tomsk Region of Russia. 

In 2016 he received a Certificate of Honour from the Subsurface Management Department for the Tomsk Region (TomskNedra) for significant contributions to the development of mineral resources in the Tomsk Region.

The board of the company has initiated a search for a new CEO to succeed Mr Francis and has asked Karl Johnson, VP of Operations, to assume the position of interim CEO with immediate effect.

Earlier this month PetroNeft said it had strong results from well testing at a prospect in Siberia. At the time Mr Francis said he expected the results to spark interest in the project from potential buyers or investors.

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