Q1) James Sound Oil have today announced a few changes in the board structure, Andrew Hockey (Non Exec Chairman) has stepped down to a Non Exec role and Simon has assumed the Chair whilst Stuart Joyner (CFO) has stood down to pursue other ventures. Clearly the Institutional focus appears to have paid dividends by stabilising and initiating growth in the Sound Oil Share Price but could you give us some detail as to how you will move forward as the newly formed Board. Could you share your vantage point here?
The securing of institutional investment is very much a pivotal moment in the company’s history. This combined with the farm out of Nervesa substantively funds the drill programme and that is a massive achievement for any company, especially in current market conditions. Andrew and Stuart have both been instrumental in these deals, funding the business and preparing the company for the next phase of its journey.
Andrew had flagged to us, post securing the funding, that going forward the Chairman role, whilst remaining Non Executive, will likely benefit from a little more time than he could offer given his day-job at Fairfield Energy. We are fortunate enough to have Simon Davies, who was previously Chairman of Threadneedle, as a very experienced and well respected City Chairman hence he will assume the role. Having Simon at the helm will serve us well as we evolve into more of an institutional story and we are lucky enough to have Andrew staying on as a Non Executive so we will continue to benefit from his technical skillset and leadership.
Stuart, in the one year he has been with us, has delivered on his objectives to fund the business and secure a farm out on our flagship asset, Nervesa. Stuart and I have known each other for some time and his moving on to bigger things is a natural evolution as Sound was his first role in industry and the move reflects his success with us. Whilst we are sad to see Stuart go, the next phase of the strategy in Italy is to execute at the drill bit – so my focus in terms of people is very much in our Milan based technical team. I like to run a tight ship in terms of cost base and hence intend to double hat the CFO role for a while, enabling us to utilise scarce G&A budget for more technical resource if we need it for Badile. The challenge now is one of execution, not funding, and I see it as a positive that we can flex our Exec team capability to reflect the new challenge ahead.
The core team at Sound Oil remains the same – Luca, Leo and myself – a high energy, ambitious, experienced and action orientated Executive team.
Q2) With recent positive updates from Rapagnano and Casa Tiberi,Pending Nervesa drill and potential operational exploitation of larger assets under the teams management could you help set the scene for the summer period going into the H2 of 2014.
The second half of 2014 promises to be a busy period for us. We will shortly achieve first gas on Casa Tiberi, having once again successfully navigated the many approval hurdles required to secure a concession and bring it into production. We are also close to finalising the Nervesa farm in with the Niche Group which secures our funding for the next Nervesa well – where we expect to commence civil works after the summer. We also are active at the moment on Badile and Laura, both of which we expect to farm out, or fund with non dilutive debt, well before drilling. So our news flow is high and value accretion potential huge!