My involvement in the energy sector was a product of my early career in banking which I look back on with happiness as it gave me a solid grounding in some of the key skills necessary to operate in the world of listed oil & gas companies.
My entry into the oil sector followed my most important achievement as a young banker: organizing the first loan to Vietnam in its history in 1986. At this time the Country was a pariah state and viewed with suspicion and hostility by almost all the Western world, especially in the wake of an unforeseen victory against the United States in the Vietnam War.
I developed an understanding of the Country whilst negotiating the loan with Vietcombank, short name for ‘Bank for foreign Trade of Socialist Republic of Vietnam’, and by meeting with Government officials. Whilst I was working on this loan the Government asked me if I was interested in trading Vietnamese petroleum. In some ways this offer was unsurprising, I was one of few Western financiers who had travelled to the Country, I had developed good relations with the Government and was seen as a reliable person with an international financial background who could sell the Country’s oil on the world markets. This was a time when Vietnam was one of the poorest nations on earth and reeling from a devastating conflict that had left the country in economic ruin.
Initially, I did not accept this offer as I was a banker. Within a year, however, I changed my mind and left banking to enter the oil sector. I approached the Vietnamese Government to know if this opportunity was still on offer, happily it was, and I have been involved in oil ever since.
As this took shape, I created a trading company with a specific focus on crude oil, textiles and hides from Vietnam and later, Africa.
Following this time, my career has had a diverse, but largely coherent direction and focus on the energy sector, leading up to my present position as CEO & President of Zenith Energy Ltd.
In 2005, I shifted my attentions from the oil-trading domain to upstream oil & gas production and exploration.
To this end, I founded Zenith Energy Ltd. with a group of like-minded and ambitious oil executives on September 20, 2007.
Zenith was incorporated, as Canoel International Energy Ltd., under the Business Corporations Act (British Columbia) on September 20, 2007, and fully listed on the TSX-V (Toronto Stock Exchange- Venture) on December 5, 2008. The Company changed its name to Zenith Energy Ltd. on September 30, 2014.
Zenith operates the largest onshore oilfield in Azerbaijan and has a number of gas producing concessions in Italy. The Company’s Italian operations include the production of electricity and condensate.
The most significant acquisition made by Zenith follows the recent signing of a 25 year ‘REDPSA’ (Rehabilitation, Exploration, Development and Production Sharing Agreement) with SOCAR, State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic, on March 16, 2016 for an area of 642 square kilometres. This is Azerbaijan’s largest onshore oilfield and has 2P reserves independently assessed at the value of $1.9 billion USD undiscounted. This is a proud achievement and the Board and I are confident that Zenith’s operations will prove fruitful for the Company and for Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan is a country that I know well and which I greatly enjoy working in. I am grateful to the Government and SOCAR for being reliable and very supporting counterparties.
REDPSA signing with President of SOCAR, Mr. Rovnag Abdullayev (click to enlarge images)