Former Petroceltic consultant in Algeria to sue over fees

Summary judgment action filed against Petroceltic Investments for alleged debt

The Four Courts. Geoffrey Stevenson, who was in charge of Petroceltic’s prime asset in the Algerian desert until the company was bought out of examinership last year, is taking on the business’s new owners in the High Court in Dublin

The Four Courts. Geoffrey Stevenson, who was in charge of Petroceltic’s prime asset in the Algerian desert until the company was bought out of examinership last year, is taking on the business’s new owners in the High Court in Dublin

 

Geoffrey Stevenson, who was in charge of exploration company Petroceltic’s prime asset in the Algerian desert until the company was bought out of examinership last year following a bitter takeover battle, is taking on the new owners of the business in the High Court in Dublin.

Mr Stevenson was not an employee of Petroceltic prior to the takeover by Swiss-Cayman Islands fund Worldview Capital, but rather he was a consultant and also project director at Petroceltic’s Ain Tsila gas field project in Algeria.

The industry veteran has in recent days filed a summary judgment action for debt against Petroceltic Investments, one of the entities placed in examinership last summer before Worldview took control. He alleges he is owed fees for his work at Ain Tsila.

A spokesman for Worldview declined to comment on the action, while Mr Stevenson could not be reached for comment, either directly or through his Irish lawyers, Eugene F Collins. Petroceltic Investments has hired top Dublin corporate law firm Matheson to defend it in the case.

Public criticism

Mr Stevenson had previously been the target of public criticism from Worldview, then the largest shareholder at the exploration company, during the ill-tempered takeover battle that ensued for 18 months before Petroceltic entered insolvency and Worldview took sole control.

Worldview at one stage published an open letter to Petroceltic’s previous management making unsubstantiated comments with regard to Mr Stevenson. The company investigated the matters commented upon by Worldview, but concluded at the time no disclosures or actions were necessary.

Prior to taking charge of the Ain Tsila asset in 2013, Mr Stevenson worked for Hess and BHP Billiton. Petroceltic’s former management trumpeted his decision to work for it in Algeria as an “outstanding appointment”.

Former management directly employed at the company who were owed money when it went into examinership last summer made a settlement with the examiner. It is believed, however, that Mr Stevenson’s status was different because he was a consultant.

Rules restructured

Since the Irish High Court approved the rescue, Petroceltic has relocated its headquarters from Dublin to London, where in recent weeks it restructured the company’s corporate rules with a new set of articles.

On Thursday morning, just days after Mr Stevenson filed his proceedings in Dublin, Petroceltic issued a statement to the press making a series of extraordinary and unsubstantiated allegations against another foreign-based executive who was previously connected to Petroceltic.

The statement said Petroceltic’s new owners had made a “criminal complaint” following an investigation they commissioned into historical arrangements at the company.

The statement did not, however, reveal in what jurisdiction the complaint had allegedly been made, or when it had been made, or the names of all of those against whom the complaint had purportedly been made.

A spokesman for Worldview/Petroceltic last night declined to provide any further detail on the alleged criminal complaint that would allow for verification of the complaint’s existence.

The person who was the subject of the Petroceltic statement had not responded to a request for comment prior to publication.