Cluff to step down from CEO role at energy firm

Algy Cluff

North Sea pioneer Algy Cluff will step down as the chief executive of his oil exploration and investment company later this month.

The veteran oil baron made headlines when he unveiled Cluff Natural Resources’ plans to create the UK’s first deep offshore underground coal gasification (UCG) plant in Fife.

The plans, which would have meant a £250 million investment in Kincardine, were put on hold in 2015 when the Scottish Government imposed a moratorium on UCG.

A spokesman for the company said Mr Cluff, who was involved in the discovery of the Buchan field in the 1970s, would still be actively involved in supporting the business.

He will remain chairman of the London-listed firm, with the CEO role handed to current finance director Graham Swindells.

Mr Cluff said: “I have committed myself to our company since its inception, but I am now at the stage where I wish to step back from my full-time role to allow me to commit time to other interests, including the launch of a new charity.

“I have had the good fortune to be the primus inter pares with two excellent colleagues, either of whom could succeed me.

“We have collectively agreed that that colleague should be Graham Swindells, thereby allowing Andrew Nunn to concentrate exclusively on our North Sea objectives.

“I look forward to continuing to work with the team and support the development of the company as chairman.”

The changes in board roles will take effect from February 28.

The company intends to find someone to succeed Mr Swindells as CFO.

Mr Swindells said the firm holds interests in a number of conventional offshore oil and gas projects.

He said: “On behalf of the board I wish to express our utmost appreciation to Algy for his tireless commitment as CEO of the company.

“I am excited about the prospect of building on the foundations laid by Algy and continuing to develop the business with the benefit of his ongoing support.

“Our existing oil and gas assets are highly prospective and with additional licence awards anticipated when the UK’s 30th licencing round is announced in Q2 2018, we are well positioned to develop a diversified portfolio of exploration assets from which to create value for our shareholders.”

Shares closed down 0.1p at 2.25p.