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Ithaca to inject small company ethos into Chevron North Sea, CEO says

Jersey oil gas changes
Les Thomas spent seven years as Ithaca's chief executive

Ithaca Energy’s boss said he was looking forward to “injecting the small company ethos” into Chevron’s North Sea operations.

Les Thomas said introducing Ithaca’s low cost, fast and simple approach to an “already good organisation” would “drive value”.

Ithaca’s acquisition of Chevron North Sea was the culmination of a prolonged hunt for new assets.

Mr Thomas said: “We have looked at a lot of things of all shapes and sizes over the last couple of years.

“We always felt this package was the one we would like to land.”

He said the deal was not motivated by a desire to “crunch two organisations together to get costs savings”.

Mr Thomas said he admired Chevron employees’ professionalism and loved the assets Ithaca is buying.

He said: “We’re buying mid-life assets with lots of running room. We are 10 years away from any significant decommissioning expenditure.

“Also, we are operating four of the 10 fields, which is where most of the resources and production come from, so we’re in the driving seat.”

He said the acquisition wouldn’t give Ithaca an abundance of exploration and development opportunities.

But those which Ithaca is inheriting will be close to existing infrastructure and command low capex.

No formal decision has been made on accommodation for the expanded organisation.

But Mr Thomas said he like Chevron’s current base in Hill of Rubislaw, Aberdeen, which has “nice facilities and plenty of space”.

“No one’s commute is going to change much,” he said.

He said Ithaca’s short-term focus was on completing the deal, but that the firm would have to think about “the day after tomorrow” and would be “alive” to further acquisition opportunities as they occur.

He said recent acquisitions of large portfolios by smaller companies were positive for the North Sea.

“If you look at history, any time there has been a wave of divestments and new entrants, the new owner comes in with fresh eyes and a different focus and cost structure.

“That has generated value and jobs and we’re going to be the same.

“It’s a good thing not only for the people directly involved, but also for the supply chain.”

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