A NORTH-EAST entrepreneur and major shareholder in Venture Production, who will collect more than £93million from the £1.3billion takeover of the firm, plans to use a significant part of the money into building up another North Sea business.
Larry Kinch, one of Venture’s co-founders in 1997 and a non-executive director with about 7.4% of the shares, had urged other shareholders to hold out for at least £10 a share, however, Scottish and British Gas owner Centrica was eventually successful this week with its 845p-a-share offer.
Five years ago, serial entrepreneur Mr Kinch received the Alick Buchanan-Smith Memorial Award for personal achievement and contribution to the Scottish offshore industry.
His drive and ingenuity has led to hundreds of high-value jobs being created, plus many millionaires.
The son of a Canadian soldier who fought in World War II and an Aberdeen mother, Mr Kinch was raised in the Granite City. When he left school, he went through an engineering apprenticeship sponsored by the paper mill where his father worked, qualifying just as North Sea oil was hitting the headlines.
His first job in the industry was as a service engineer with Schlumberger testing exploration wells from semisubmersibles in Denmark, Norway and the UK.
In 1976, he joined Shell in well engineering in the North Sea before heading to the Middle East for eight years. By the mid 1980s, aged 33, he decided to move back to Aberdeen and go it alone, convinced that his ideas were commercially viable.
Petroleum Engineering Services (PES) was set up with a former Shell colleague. Despite the hard times in the North Sea in the mid-1980s, PES prospered and, in 1995, 3i bought a £10million stake and the company caught the international eye, not least Halliburton’s.
The US giant bought the business when it was turning over £40million a year and employing 300 staff.
At the same time as 3i invested in PES, Mr Kinch ran the idea of setting up a new style of independent oil company based on production engineering and technology past the venture capitalists.
One year later, he was back with a business plan, having teamed up with Dave Nealy and Bruce Dingwall to create Venture Production.
In 2003, Mr Kinch set up a new company: Energy Development Partners.