Belfast Telegraph

Boss of embattled oil exploration firm Providence Resources 'has faith' loan will arrive

Tony O'Reilly Jnr
Tony O'Reilly Jnr

By John Mulligan

Providence Resources chief executive Tony O'Reilly Jnr still believes a $9m (£7.3m) loan will be forthcoming from Chinese investors despite weeks of delays.

And he insisted he does not see any immediate reason why he should resign. He said a decision on his future at the embattled oil exploration firm should be left to the Providence Resources board.

The company has tapped its institutional shareholders for $3.76m (£3m) to keep it afloat until next February, due to the delay in receiving the funds from Chinese firm APEC that's meant to be used to help fund development of Providence's Barryroe oil prospect off the Cork coast.

The share placing is scheduled to complete on October 1.

"Some shareholders question whether I should still be at the business," said Mr O'Reilly after the Providence annual general meeting in Dublin yesterday, where he noted the firm is "in survival mode".

"But for the here and now, to protect the company, to protect the asset, I need to do the business and deliver the placing," he said.

He also admitted that the company could also be a takeover target given its difficulties.

Pressed if he will consider his own position at the company, where he's been for 22 years, Mr O'Reilly said "everything" could be discussed.

"I'm not suddenly going to put up red flags and say exactly what I'm going to do, but we'll see," he said.

He also defended his €470,000 (£421,000) pay package for 2018, even as the company has cut jobs and plans to slash its cost base.

Mr O'Reilly said it was incredulous that the money from APEC had not yet been received by Providence and denied the firm had been taken for a mug.

He also said there has been interest from other parties working in the Barryroe site. "Nobody looks like heroes in this," he said.

Mr O'Reilly said APEC had been informed last week of the planned fundraising, and said he believed the Chinese firm now felt "a bit ashamed" that Providence had been forced to raise cash from shareholders because of the delay in receiving the APEC loan.

Belfast Telegraph