Q&A: Why CEB Resources is Focusing on Indonesia
Previously an investment company in the mining sector, with a primary focus on Australia, CEB Resources plc has undergone a range of changes in the past few months.
Hungry for a new challenge, the company appointed David Whitby as its CEO June 5, shifting its attention to oil and gas opportunities in Indonesia in the process. The company is now focusing specifically on onshore oil and gas projects in Sumatra and its newly-updated team has 250 years of collective experience in the oil and gas industry and has collectively worked in Indonesia – which holds oil and gas reserves of 3.7 billion barrels and 101.5 trillion cubic feet, respectively, according to BP plc's latest Statistical Review of World Energy – for over 70 years.
In this article, Whitby talks about his background in the oil and gas industry, outlines why CEB Resources made the decision to venture into the Southeast Asian country and explains the future plans of the company.
Rigzone: How long have you been involved in the oil and gas industry?
Whitby: About 35 years. I took my engineering degree at the Royal Military College in Canada and branched out into the oil and gas industry in heavy oil in Canada, pumped wells and started at that low end of the game. I worked my way up to reservoir engineering in 1990 [and] moved over to Indonesia more on a spec and that started the love affair of both Indonesia and the gas industry. I’ve worked there for, on and off, 15 or 20 years. I was vice president for ConocoPhillips for Asia, I was vice president for heavy oil for Husky in Canada and I started a company called Nido Petroleum Ltd. on the ASX which was quite successful, so I’ve been around the traps a bit.
Rigzone: How will you be changing the approach of CEB Resources?
Whitby: CEB Resources was an investment company and they were looking for a new gig. We had put together a concept about 18 months ago and realized that Indonesia was an opportunity that nobody really understood and nobody was really pursuing, so we got together and CEB was keen to give us a shot at it. It was historically an investment company in the mining sector, but we’ll focus mostly on oil and gas, all in Indonesia.
Rigzone: Why Indonesia?
Whitby: Indonesia is what I’m comfortable with. I had the opportunity to have a major contribution into the present day gas industry. When I first got there in 1990 Gulf Canada had one untested gas well and they said “do something with it”. That has transformed itself into about a billion and a half [cubic feet] of gas sales and myself, and my crew of highly gifted Indonesians, we’ve contracted about 12 Tcf [trillion cubic feet] of gas in the country, so it is our home court.
Rigzone: What makes you think you’ll be successful in this country?
Whitby: We started a screening criteria just to assess what the opportunities look like in the country and we were very much overwhelmed by the opportunities that were there … We screened about 70 of these things, and just by the fact that there are 70 potential opportunities is somewhat overwhelming. We have 17 that are under study and six that we’re actively pursuing, so that project pipeline is really quite choc-a-block.
Rigzone: Does the company have any plans to focus on countries neighboring Indonesia?
Whitby: No. One thing I learned when I ran Nido [which grew its market cap from $1.2 million to over $440 million] is “focus, asset depth and core competency”. So we’re going to focus on onshore oil and gas, particularly in Sumatra. Our screening criteria has given us more than enough asset depth and as a core competency, the crew we’ve put together, we’ve got over 250 years of experience collectively in the industry, we’ve worked in 35 countries and collectively we have over 70 years in Indonesia, so it’s really quite an eclectic mob.
For more information CEB Resources’ latest developments, listen to the audio clip below.
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