Tullow CFO Takes Medical Leave of Absence

Tullow Oil plc announced Thursday that its Chief Financial Officer, Ian Springett, is taking an extended leave of absence from the company in order to undergo treatment for an unspecified medical condition.

Les Wood, vice president of finance and commercial, has been appointed Interim CFO as a result of Springett’s leave. Wood joined Tullow in 2014 as the group’s vice president for commercial. Before joining Tullow, he worked for BP plc for 28 years in various positions including regional CFO roles in Canada and the Middle East.

Tullow refused to comment on when Springett was expected to return to his position. It’s unclear at this time how long Wood will serve as the company’s interim CFO.

Springett, a Chartered Accountant, was named as Tullow’s new CFO in August 2008, replacing Tom Hickey. Prior to joining Tullow, he worked at BP for 23 years where he gained extensive international oil and gas experience, Tullow said. Springett held a number of senior positions at BP, including vice president of BP finance, and CFO for the United States, and also served as a business unit leader in Alaska.

Late last year, oil and gas analysts at investment bank Jefferies said that the production ramp-up of the TEN field offshore Ghana is crucial for Tullow to maintain continued bank support ahead of a final investment decision on a new project in Uganda.

The warning comes after Jefferies reduced its TEN production estimates for 2017 and 2018 to 48,000 and 45,000 barrels per day, respectively, from previous predictions of 65,000 and 71,000 bpd.

“With the current operational focus on water injection, reservoir performance, and pressure support, we reduce our 2017 estimate to 48,000 bpd based on five producer wells averaging 9,600 bpd per well,” analysts said in a research note sent to Rigzone in December.

“We also understand that even the guidance to achieve 80,000 capacity production on TEN by year-end 2016 is now not a target anymore,” they added.

Based on a favourable court ruling on the Ghana border dispute with Cote d’Ivoire by year-end 2017, Jefferies says production at the field could grow to 65,000 bpd in 2019 and 2020.

Tullow expects to exit 2016 with net debt at around $4.9 billion, with unutilized debt capacity and free cash of approximately $900 million, according to the company’s latest trading update.

The TEN project, which has a total estimated gross cost of almost $5 billion, contains gross reserves of 300 million barrels of oil equivalent. Described by the company as Ghana’s second major oil development, the TEN field is situated around 40 miles offshore Western Ghana and just 12 miles from Tullow’s flagship operated asset, the Jubilee field, which came on-stream in December 2010.

A graduate in journalism from Cardiff University, Andreas has eight years of experience as a business journalist. Email Andreas at andreas.exarheas@rigzone.com

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