There’s a new team at Global Petroleum, with a plan to grow and diversify the company. New chairman Daniel Page, speaking to Energy Voice this week, joined the board in an overhaul in November 2023.
The previous team of Peter Hill, John van der Welle and Garrick Higgins resigned.
Joining Page on the new board were Cecilia Yu, as executive director, and Azib Khan, as non-executive director.
Andrew Draffin also joined up as a non exec.
Page has a background as an asset manager and a commodities macro manager and investor, he explained. He has “sat in both camps”, of doing deals and managing businesses.
“Cecilia has a tier one background as well, she’s a mathematician, while I’m a transacting guy”. Yu ran a significant credit investing hedge fund, while starting her career at Trafigura.
“We have a plan, clearly we do. You won’t have had the career that we have had, and arrive at running a PLC that is small, if you didn’t intend to do something significant with it … it’s a new start in many ways.”
Expressing optimism around the Eastern Mediterranean and Namibia, Page said the board had a “forward looking plan that runs north of the decade that’s very significant in both regions”.
At the time of writing, Global has a market capitalisation of around £2.3 million.
The 10-year goal, the chairman said, is to reach £200-250mn.
Dan and Cecelia team
Page explained there was a plan for the “Dan and Cecelia operating team”. The two had worked throughout 2023 to find a vehicle, at Cornerman, a nod to Page’s time in the ring. Ultimately, a Global shareholder, Omar Ahmad, proposed the new team should come in as a replacement to the then board.
Ahmad “owned a material stake in Global and told us ‘I’m going to agitate this management and it would be my preference to put you into that conversation’,” Page said. “I’ve never spoken to the previous management. We liked the ability to operate in the East Mediterranean and Africa.”
Global has been a long-time holder of acreage in Namibia. The Southern African state has shot up in industry interest recently, with the discovery of major resources in the Orange Basin.
Global owns 78% of PEL 94, in the Walvis Basin, in Namiba’s north. The non-commercial Wingat-1 recovered oil to surface in 2013, while ExxonMobil holds licences on the border with Angola.
It also holds interests in Italy’s Adriatic Sea, where it has faced some local challenges to its plans.
However, in a likely sign of the new direction of travel, Global announced an agreement with Cyprus’ Cynergy East Med in January. The two sides agreed to a partnership agreement on exploring energy opportunities.
“We’re now at the table as a high-value deal team. We add value to that, we have in front of us a platform that is incredibly privileged,” Page explained.
Page and Cynergy’s Mike Germanos met five years ago in the Middle East, he said. “What we can do together is, we hope, exceptional. What we bring is executional power, that he could not get otherwise. Cecilia and I have the ability to bring a different type of asset financing mentality, as well as working physically on the nuts and bolts of producing assets”, he said. “We’re finance commodities people.”
The East Med is a “tough place” to do business, Page acknowledged, particularly given the conflict around Israel currently. “But if I wanted an easy place to do business, I’d sit in London and transact oil futures.”
The board can offer a “deep understanding” of the cultural and political drivers, he said, in addition to the need for security. Gas in the region can play a part in energy security, he said.
“If you want sovereign wealth fund backing, you would hire Dan and Cecilia.”
Global announced a pay deal for its board this morning. The aim of the rewards system is to align compensation with shareholder needs, Page explained.
“It’s not our business, it’s our shareholders’ company with goodwill”, he said. The two executives will take a modest salary and a contracting fee. Most of the value will be in shares and options.
The team has the aim of building Global up over a 10-year timeframe. “We are incredibly aware of what happens here on AIM, but we have to be aligned for a long time. We’re respectful of the shareholders’ position, we’re aligned with our own money as much as our own sentiment.”
There has been increasing talk in recent years of challenges in financing E&P. Page said the “macro noise” was irrelevant to Global.
“AIM is having a rough time. As a market to access capital, it’s fabulous. It’s more that there’s a lack of professional funds and it’s difficult for liquidity,” he said.
However, while interest rates may be higher, “it doesn’t mean capital is gone. It just means your hurdle rate is higher. In oil and gas, it really doesn’t matter because your gross margin is high, so your total terminal value multiples are insane.”
Page explained that their perspective, as “credit people”, allowed them to see oil and gas assets in a different way. “I look at an asset, and it costs a certain amount and it will do a thing for a certain amount of time, that is simply a bond.”
“The access to capital is no problem for anybody that understands how to present the asset. And that’s what we do. We know how to present the opportunities in the right language.”
The challenge for Global and the board is around capacity. Page talked of the importance of a diversified portfolio, although finding a need to balance this with the company’s ability to make a difference.
“What can you actually execute?” the executive asked. “We can enhance the velocity of partnerships in Africa, partnerships in the East Med and the mechanics of rolling up producing assets that are undervalued perhaps?”
Global, and the Dan and Cecilia team, have a mountain to climb. Signing the deal with Cynergy is an impressive demonstration of intent, but to get ahead, the team will need to show they can follow through on the big talk.
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