A successor to retiring Oil Search managing director Peter Botten has been named, with the long-serving chief executive to hand over to Alaskan operations president Dr Keiran Wulff in February.
Mr Botten, in his 25th year as chief executive of the PNG-focused gas producer, had flagged his retirement at the company’s annual general meeting in May.
To ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities, Dr Wulff was appointed chief executive designate on Monday and will retain his Alaskan responsibilities until mid-December.
Dr Wulff is currently Oil Search’s executive vice president of Alaska and president of Oil Search Alaska.
He worked at Oil Search from 1993 to 2008, holding several senior technical, operational and executive roles, and re-joined the company in 2015.
Mr Botten will stand down from the board in February, and will focus primarily on LNG expansion projects, including the $19 billion Papua LNG Agreement between Oil Search, Total, and Exxon Mobil.
“The board has been preparing for Peter’s potential departure for several years,” Oil Search chairman Rick Lee said.
“(We) have agreed unanimously that Dr Wulff is the best person to succeed Peter, with the necessary experience, leadership skills and vision to take Oil Search into the future.”
Mr Botten, who was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia in January, will leaving the company altogether in August next year and has been issued a non-compete clause until August 2021.
He will continue his association with Oil Search and PNG through pro-bono roles as chairman of the Oil Search Foundation and the Hela Provincial Health Authority, and as a member of the Australia Papua New Guinea Business Council executive committee.
Bruce Dingeman, who is currently chief operating officer of the Alaska business unit, will take over Dr Wulff’s role as president of Oil Search’s Alaska operations.
Shares in Oil Search were down 2.05 per cent at $7.17 by 1103 AEST, down more than 20 per cent from a near five-year high of $9.03 a year ago.
The company reported a $US161.9 million ($A239 million) profit after tax for the six months to June 30 and boosted its dividend from 2.7 to five US cents a share as it rebounded from the PNG earthquake in February 2018.