Thursday 22 March 2018

Ex-Tullow bosses to float new T5 oil company

Former chairman Pat Plunkett is raising millions for African explorer

Oil Baron: Pat Plunkett. Photo: Tom Burke
Oil Baron: Pat Plunkett. Photo: Tom Burke

Roisin Burke

Former Tullow Oil chairman Pat Plunkett and a number of former top figures at the oil group have started a new exploration venture due for a stock market float later this year.

T5 Oil & Gas has raised most of its target €5m in seed capital with full funding to close this month.

Plunkett is involved along with former exploration manager Gerry Sheehan, ex-Africa director Andrew Windham, Matt O'Donoghue and Steven McTiernan.

Financier Cathal Friel's Raglan Capital is the promoter and fundraiser. Friel is chairman of offshore Ireland and Morocco explorer Fastnet Oil & Gas.

Many of T5's investors at this early stage also backed Fastnet at its starting point.

The aim is to float T5 in autumn with a primary listing on London's AIM and a presence on the ISEQ also. London and Dublin stockbroking houses will be hired to manage the IPO.

T5 has lined up exploration assets, with Sheehan having spent the past year acquiring two licences in Senegal in West Africa. Senegal was also the starting point of Tullow Oil's African success story, where it bought licences in the Eighties. At least four other Africa licences will be acquired in coming months.

Plunkett was a lynchpin figure at €10bn market cap explorer Tullow for over a decade. Along with chief executive Aidan Heavey, Plunkett was instrumental in turning Tullow from a small North Sea oil producer into the largest owner of exploration acreage in Africa. Tullow's share price soared, with the company often touted as a potential takeover target for major Chinese oil firms such as Cnooc.

Plunkett, a former ABN Amro banker has a personal fortune estimated at around €20m based on share sales and his last recorded holdings in Tullow. He is a former director of the Irish Stock Exchange.

O'Donoghue was Tullow's 'man in Africa' as operations director there, running the Senegal sites in the early days in the Eighties and worked as a consultant there after retiring in 2008.

Former Tullow director McTiernan is on the board at Irish FTSE250 Mozambique explorer Kenmare Resources.

Sheehan was Tullow's international exploration and new ventures manager and is a founder of Wicklow-based Blackstairs Energy.

Former London City lawyer Windham was Africa managing director at Tullow and has 30 years' experience and connections in that region.

A flotation by T5 later this year would continue the trend of Irish companies seeking to raise money on stock markets, with many firms finding it difficult to source money from banks. Friel's own Fastnet and Falcon Oil and Gas have both floated on markets in recent years.

Other non-resources focused groups have secured listings over the last six months, including specialist drilling group Mincon, online gaming tech group GameAccount and video game localisation firm Keywords Studios.

Paul Coulson's glass bottle and tin can maker Ardagh and Eric Moseley's staff loyalty firm Globoforce are both rumbling towards IPOs this year on US stock markets.

Irish Independent

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