Circle Oil chairman steps down in surprise move
Nicholas Clayton appointed interim chairman of Limerick-based explorer
Nicholas Clayton, who become interim chairman of Circle Oil its agm in Dublin yesterday. Photograph: Aidan Crawley
Mr Anderson decided to step down at yesterday’s agm in Dublin after 10 years at the company.
He said the transition of Circle Oil from an exploration company to a production company had given rise to huge challenges, not helped by Arab risings and unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.
“The ministries keep changing. Ministries have changed three or four times in Egypt due to the Arab Spring [demonstrations]. You think you have licences but then it’s unsure.
“Keeping governments on side is really hard work. When you think you have everything agreed, it is disagreed.”
Mr Anderson said he had so many things on his agenda that perhaps he was not giving Circle Oil his full attention as a result.
The board of Circle Oil said the company was now producing at record levels and yielding an excellent financial return from its operations, partly due to Mr Anderson’s stewardship over the last decade.
Director Nicholas Clayton has been appointed as interim chairman.
A shareholder asked why none of the directors, with the exception of Mr Clayton, had been buying shares over the last two years.
Chief executive Chris Green said there was intent among the directors to buy shares, but that the nominated adviser had said they couldn’t on several occasions due to the possession of market sensitive information.
“I am in receipt of [market sensitive] information every day that stops me from buying them.”
Mr Green said operations on the second well in Tunisia had not gone well, as the company was yet to receive an environmental permit.
Earlier this week, Circle Oil announced first-half revenues of $42.5 million (€32.1 million), up 20 per cent from last year’s figure of $35.4 million.
The company, which primarily operates in North Africa and the Middle East, also increased pre-tax profit by 10 per cent to $14.7 million in the six months to the end of June.