Category Archives: E&P

CFO at Vaalco Energy to retire

Elizabeth Prochnow has decided to retire from her role as CFO of Vaalco Energy, effective March 31, 2021. She is the second Houston E&P CFO to retire this week, following Jim Ulm at Callon Petroleum.



Vaalco’s primary source of revenue is from offshore Gabon in West Africa. It also has an undeveloped block in offshore Equatorial Guinea. The company has revenues of $67 million and a market capitalization of $139 million.

Ms. Prochnow joined the company in May 2015 as its Chief Accounting Officer and was promoted to CFO in April 2019.  According to the press release issued by the company, her husband has recently retired and they wish to spend more time traveling and with her family.

The company has initiated an executive search for a new CFO. In the meantime, Jason Doornik, the company’s Chief Accounting Officer, will serve as the interim CFO.

SEC filing – Prochnow retires

Callon Petroleum CFO to retire in May

Jim Ulm, the CFO of Callon Petroleum, has told the company he plans to retire from the company in May 2021 due to personal and health reasons. The company has commenced a search for his successor.

The company is an E&P company focused on the Permian and Eagle Ford Basins and it has its head office in the Westchase area of Houston. Due to its high leverage, the company’s stock price is very sensitive to changes in crude oil prices. Its shares have risen eightfold since October as crude prices have risen. The market capitalization is now $1.8 billion. Callon took over Carrizo Oil and Gas in an all-stock transaction in December 2019 that valued Carrizo at $765 million.

Mr Ulm, 57,  joined Callon in December 2017 as its CFO. He was previously the CFO at other large E&P companies such as Fieldwood Energy and Pogo Producing.

SEC filing – Callon CFO retirement

 

Another Houston E&P blank check company files for IPO

Flame Acquisition Corp has filed for a $250 million Initial Public Offering. It has its head office in downtown Houston.



The company is led by CEO and Chairman James Flores, the former CEO of Sable Permian Resources and prior to that, CEO of Plains Exploration and Production. The CFO is Gregory Patrinely, the former CFO of Sable. He also worked in the Oil and Gas division of Freeport-McMoRan, where Mr. Flores also worked for a time.

Sable Permian was formed in 2017 after it was spun off from American Energy Partners, which was formed by the late Aubrey McClendon, after he left Chesapeake. Sable filed for bankruptcy in June 2020. Mr. Flores and Mr. Patrinely left Sable days after if exited from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2020.

The company is targeting opportunities in the the exploration and production and midstream sectors.

Cowen and Intrepid Partners are the joint bookrunners on the deal.

Last week, another Houston E&P blank check company, HNR Acquisition, filed for a $100 million IPO.

S-1 filing – Flame Acquisition Corp

E&P blank check company files for $100 million IPO

HNR Acquisition, a blank check company, has filed for an Initial Public Offering (IPO). It has its head office in the Greenway Plaza area of Houston.



The company plans to raise $100 million. Its sponsor and current 100% stockholder is Houston Natural Resources (HNR).  Its founder and CEO, Donald Goree, will also be the CEO of the blank check company.

HNR is currently involved in the recycling and remediation of oil-produced contaminates. It trades over-the-counter and has a market capitalization of $46 million. The company is currently completing two years of audited statements and has not yet filed to become an SEC reporting company.

The blank check company intends to focus on acquiring a business involved in exploration and production.

Kingswood Capital Markets is the sole bookrunner on the deal.

If HNR Acquisition completes its IPO, it will be the 8th Houston-area blank check company. Last week, one of those, Landcadia Holdings III announced a a proposed reverse takeover with The Hillman Group.

S1 filing – HNR Acquisition Corp

 

Amplify Energy appoints new senior management

Martin Willsher, the CFO of Amplify Energy, has been appointed CEO. He had been the interim CEO since April 2020 when predecessor Ken Mariani retired. Jason McGlynn, currently VP of Business Development, has been appointed CFO.



Amplify Energy was formed in 2019 from the all-stock merger of Tulsa-based Midstates Petroleum and what was Memorial Production Partners. The business focuses on low-decline, mature assets, mainly in the Mississippian Lime formation in Oklahoma and in East Texas/North Louisiana. It has its head office in downtown Houston.

Amplify has debt of $270 million and only $4 million of equity. Therefore it is concentrating on controlling costs and generating cash to pay down the debt.

Mr. Willsher joined Memorial Production Partners in March 2012 as its Director of Strategic Planning. His base salary will remain at $350,000.

Mr. McGlynn joined Midstates in 2013 as its VP of Strategic Planning, Investor Relations and Treasury.  He will receive a base salary of $290,000.

The company also announced a new chairman. Christopher Hamm, who has been on the Board since August 2019, takes over from David Proman, who will remain on the Board.

SEC filing – Amplify Senior Management

Southwestern Energy CFO dies suddenly

Julian Bott, the CFO of Southwestern Energy, has died suddenly after experiencing a sudden non-COVID related medical condition.

The E&P company has its head office in Spring. It has its operations in the Marcellus shale region in Appalachia. Mr. Bott joined the company as CFO in February 2018, having previously been the CFO at Sandridge Energy, based in Oklahoma City.

Southwestern has appointed Michael Hancock, currently VP Finance and Treasurer, as its interim CFO. He joined the company in 2010.

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210104005810/en/

 

 

E&P CEO leaves with a large severance weeks after bankruptcy

Tommy Nusz, the CEO of Oasis Petroleum, has retired. He has been replaced, on an interim basis, by Chairman Douglas Brooks, the former CEO of Energy XXI and Yates Petroleum.



Mr. Nusz founded Oasis in 2007 and the company went public in 2010. Most of the company’s operations are in the Williston Basin of North Dakota and Montana It also has operations in Delaware Basin in Texas. The company has its head office in downtown Houston. At its peak in 2014, its market capitalization was almost $6 billion.

Oasis filed for a pre-packaged bankruptcy on September 30, 2020. Unsecured loan note holders swapped $1.8 billion of debt for 92.5% of the equity in the newly-reorganized company. Existing shareholders were diluted down to 7.5%.

Mr. Nusz was Chairman and CEO prior to bankruptcy. After the company exited from Chapter 11 in early November, he remained on the Board of Directors. However, because he was no longer Chairman, it was deemed a termination for good reason following a change of control, under the terms of his 2018 employment contract.

That means Mr. Nusz gets a change of control payment of 2.99 times base salary of $881,250 plus 2.99 times average bonus paid in the previous two years. In the 2019 proxy statement that total came to $5.4 million. He will also receive a target bonus for 2020 which is probably another $984,000 (based on the 2019 target bonus) .

Mr. Nusz has also stepped down as a director of Oasis Midstream Partners, the publicly-traded MLP controlled by Oasis Petroleum. The midstream entity was not part of the bankruptcy proceedings.

SEC filing – Oasis Petroleum CEO change

 

 

Small E&P company agrees to reverse takeover

Camber Energy has agreed to buy 51% of Viking Energy for $20 million. Both E&P companies are based in Houston, with Camber traded on the NYSE and Viking traded over-the-counter. The deal is effectively a reverse takeover as it’s the Viking management who will be running the show post-close.



Camber Energy used to be called Lucas Energy and went public in 2006. It’s had a troubled past. The strangest event was in October 2011 when the then-CEO made an acquisition for $22 million without telling the Board or making it public. The issue only came to light a year later when the seller sued for payment that was due in November 2012.

Camber has effectively been a shell since selling its main operating assets in 2019. In June 2019, it announced a reverse takeover by Lineal Holdings, an oilfield construction company. The deal closed but had to be unwound on December 31, 2019 as it did not meet NYSE listing requirements

Viking deal

The Viking deal was originally announced in January 2020, though in a different form. In the original version, Camber would have issued shares to Viking shareholders so that the latter would own 85% of the combined group post-closing.

Instead the revised deal calls for Camber to pay $20 million in cash. This is financed by $9.2 million cancellation of debt owed to Camber by Viking. Camber had lent money to Viking earlier in 2020 to enable Viking to close on an acquisition of 123 wells in Texas and Louisiana.

The remaining $10.8 million was paid in cash and funded by a new loan from Camber’s preferred shareholder.

James Doris, the CEO of Viking, has been appointed the CEO of Camber. Frank Barker, the CFO of Viking, becomes the CFO of Camber. Louis Schott, former interim CEO and Robert Schleizer, the former CFO of Camber, have stepped down. Each was paid a bonus of $150,000.

Fake CFO

Viking Energy was the subject of my most bizarre post I’ve written in this blog.  In September 2019, the SEC announced fraud charges against a former CEO for creating a fake CFO.

SEC filing – Camber Energy Viking acquisition

E&P company hires from within for CFO position

Goodrich Petroleum has appointed Kristen McWatters to be its new CFO. She replaces Robert Barker, who is retiring. Mr. Barker joined the company in 2007 and had been CFO since 2017.



Goodrich has its head office in downtown Houston. It operates primarily in the Haynesville Shale Basin that straddles East Texas and Louisiana. The company has a market capitalization of $138 million.

The company was formed in 1975 and went public via a reverse takeover of Patrick Petroleum in 1995. In 2016, the company went through bankruptcy, converting $400 million of debt into equity.

Ms. McWatters joined the company in 2017 and has been its Controller since March 2020. She started her career at KPMG and has also worked at Southwestern Energy and Spark Energy, two Houston-based publicly-traded companies.

Ms. McWatters will receive a base salary of $200,000.

SEC filing – Goodrich – CFO appointment

Energy CEO rehired after 5-year SEC ban

Houston American Energy has rehired John Terwilliger as its new CEO. In April 2015, Mr Terwilliger was banned from serving as an officer or director of a public company for five years as part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).



Houston American has a market capitalization of $10 million. It has working interests in four wells in Texas and Louisiana as well as some undeveloped acreage in Columbia. It went public in 2006. Mr Terwilliger is the largest single shareholder, owning 13.6% of the common stock

In August 2014, the SEC announced charges against the company and Mr Terwilliger. The charges alleged that, back in 2009, Mr Terwilliger claimed that a concession in Columbia was worth more than $100 per share. The SEC alleged that the valuation was wildly inflated and not based on any technical evaluation. During this time, the stock price rose from $4 to $20 and the company raised $13 million in a stock offering. The operator eventually drilled three dry wells and the concession produced no oil.

Shortly before a trial was due to start in January 2015, the parties settled. Without admitting or denying liability, the company paid a penalty of $400,000 and Mr Terwilliger agreed to resign as CEO and pay a penalty of $150,000.

Mr Terwilliger founded Houston American in 2001. At the time, he was also the founder and CEO of Moose Oil and Gas. Moose entered Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2002. The bankruptcy trustee later alleged that Mr Terwilliger diverted funds from Moose to pay for the start-up legal and professional fees of Houston American. This case was also settled without admitting or denying liability.

 

SEC filing – Terwilliger CEO