THE sale of EnCore Oil would not be the first taste of North Sea success for the firm’s founding directors.
Alan Booth, Eugene Whyms and Graham Dore were senior British executives at Canada’s largest oil company EnCana before its UK interests were bought out by Nexen in a £1.1billion deal in 2004.
EnCana had been operator at Buzzard when the field’s estimated reserves were pushed up to 1.1billion barrels of oil in 2002, making it the biggest North Sea discovery in years.
The trio were credited as the men principally behind the Buzzard find as EnCana UK’s chief executive, finance director and chief geologist respectively.
They set up EnCore in 2005 in the hope of replicating that discovery and within months it had acquired stakes in six North Sea blocks from PetroCanada. The following year, EnCore got a stock market listing after gaining control of Alternative Investment Market-listed Oil Quest Resources in a reverse takeover.
EnCore had planned to float subsidiary XEO Exploration earlier this year, but cancelled the listing because of the UK Government’s tax rise for North Sea operators.
XEO had been due to take responsibility for the firm’s exploration assets and join Aim, but EnCore said that after the shock tax grab the market appetite for UK North Sea exploration had markedly diminished.