Advance Energy Plc to pursue ‘self-funding’ generation projects, Larry Bottomley takes helm as interim CEO

The restart plan has found some favor in London, with the news inspiring a 24% rally in early trading on Friday.

Advance Energy PLC (AIM:ADV) has announced that Chief Executive Leslie Peterkin is leaving the company as part of a cost cut aimed at cutting 50% of its cost base.

It comes after the failure of the Buffalo well, offshore Timor-Leste, and the subsequent fall of more than 90% in the share price.

Today the company announced to investors that former Chariot Oil & Gas boss Larry Bottomley will step down as non-executive director to become Advance Energy’s new interim chief executive.

Bottomley will be responsible for ushering in a new strategy for the company that will seek to re-create the exploration investor as an “oil and gas producing company to take advantage of growth opportunities.”

The plan is to focus on non-operating cash-generating assets among the pipeline of projects the company has previously reviewed over the past twelve months. Such opportunities could be in Europe, Africa and the Far East, he added.

Advance Energy has indicated that it is considering debt or seller financing for such opportunities and added that it is currently funded to mature these options. He said he is confident he will strike a deal on at least one pipeline opportunity in the current calendar year.

“Advance Energy has an exciting set of opportunities in the business development pipeline and a motivated, high-quality board of directors focused on growing the business,” Bottomley said in Friday’s release.

“Reducing the cost base leaves the company with enough cash and no debt, and most importantly allows more time to evaluate and move this pipeline forward.

“The board is committed to providing assets from the business development pipeline and are excited about the opportunity it presents, and we look forward to updating the market as they progress. “

Leslie Peterkin added: “The outcome of the B-10 well was a huge disappointment given the significant input that was given to the project and the high degree of confidence that it would lead to commercial development.

“To support the company in its efforts to reduce the cost base, I have decided to step down and leave the company in the very able hands of the remaining board of directors who I have no doubt will lead Advance Energy through these near-term challenges and set the company on a new path for long-term growth.”

The 50% cost reduction plan announced today includes a reduction in salaries and attendance fees of more than 60%.