North Sea stalwart Neill Carson is celebrating a maiden acquisition at Quattro Energy – the fourth oil and gas vehicle he has co-founded.
Aberdeen-based Mr Carson and business partners launched Quattro Energy in April and have quickly got the business purring.
The firm has struck a deal to buy two UK central North Sea licences from United Oil and Gas, which is exiting the UK Continental Shelf.
London-registered Quattro will pay £2 million on completion and a further £1.2m if it manages to get a development plan approved for the Maria field, in licence 2519.
The deal, expected to go through by the end of September, is the first step in Quattro’s quest to build a portfolio of oil and gas appraisal, development and producing assets.
Mr Carson co-founded Ithaca Energy and held the roles of president and chief operating officer at that business, which is now owned by Israeli firm Delek and is one of the UK North Sea’s largest producers.
He subsequently helped set up Iona Energy, where he served as chief executive.
Iona went into administration early in 2016, but Mr Carson had left the company two years earlier to establish i3 Energy, which is listed in London and Toronto and has interests in the UK North Sea and Canada.
He remains a non-executive director of i3, whose headquarters are in Westhill, near Aberdeen.
At Quattro, Mr Carson has taken on the title of executive chairman, while co-founders Jens Pace and Brad Gunn are chief executive and chief financial officer, respectively.
Mr Pace was previously CEO of Petronor E&P and African Petroleum and Mr Gunn’s career included a spell as CFO of Ithaca.
Mr Carson said the team at Quattro were “big believers” in the North Sea oil and gas industry.
The attractions are its “good quality reservoirs” and abundance of aging platforms, whose owners are looking to defer decommissioning by hosting production from new fields.
He said the transaction with United Oil and Gas would be “just the first” and that Quattro was working on a number of potential additional deals.
Mr Carson also said Quattro was moving towards a listing in London.
“We’re excited about that and expect to do it via a reverse takeover,” he said. “It’s a normal process for us. We start small and humble and choose the right assets.
“We know the capital markets and we know about getting the right assets and believe we can do it again.
“Hopefully today is the start of a train of good news flow.”
He stressed that the company was prepared to look beyond the North Sea to strengthen its portfolio.
London-listed United said it intended to focus on Egypt and the Greater Mediterranean area, as well as exploration opportunities in the Caribbean and Latin America.
United CEO Brian Larkin said: “With this transaction we continue to demonstrate our ability to actively manage our portfolio of assets to unlock significant return in value for our shareholders in a short period of time.
“In line with our stated strategy, the proceeds of this transaction will further strengthen our balance sheet to support the growth of the company”.