Hurricane Energy’s plans for the largest undeveloped discovery in the UK North Sea have delivered a bumper pay boost for the firm’s chief executive.
Robert Trice earned more than twice as much in 2016 as he got the year before, the company’s latest annual report shows.
Mr Trice, who founded Surrey-based Hurricane in 2005, received £909,000 in emoluments, bonuses and pension contributions last year.
The total package, boosted by a cash bonus of £313,000, was up from £413,000 the year before.
Chief operations officer Neil Platt also more than doubled his earnings to £667,000, up from £303,000 previously.
And Alistair Stobie, who joined the firm in March 2016 as chief financial officer, earned £468,000 last year.
Mr Trice, whose 25-plus years in the oil and gas industry include spells with Enterprise Oil and Shell, announced the discovery of light oil at the Lancaster prospect west of Shetland in late 2009.
Earlier this month, Hurricane released new figures showing the field holds recoverable volumes of up to 523million barrels of oil.
Lancaster is now thought to be part of a bigger, single hydrocarbon accumulation thought to contain up to 1billion barrels of oil.
While not as big as Nexen’s giant Buzzard field, the estimated size of the Greater Lancaster area eclipses all other finds in the UK North Sea in the past 16 years.
Hurricane’s CEO, boasting a doctorate in geology from London University’s Birkbeck College, is a renowned expert in the characterisation and evaluation of fractured reservoirs.
Unlike sandstone reservoirs that hold oil in the rock and have provided much of the world’s oil over decades, fractured basement rock – holding oil between cracks – is very hard and brittle.
Globally, fractured reservoirs are thought to contain about 20% of the remaining oil and gas resources.
Hurricane has a portfolio of wholly-owned exploration and appraisal projects, with 450million barrels of potentially recoverable oil, focused on fractured basement prospects west of Shetland.
Guernsey-based investor Crystal Amber has been building its stake in the company on the basis that Lancaster may be the tip of a very large iceberg.
Hurricane narrowed its pre-tax losses to £4.7million last year, compared to £5.5million in 2015, during what was described as a “transformational” period for the firm.