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AAOG: Appointment of Chief Executive Officer and Three Non-Executive Directors


Anglo African Oil & Gas plc, an independent oil and gas developer, is pleased to announce the following changes to the Board of Directors:

·        Mr James Berwick is appointed as Chief Executive Officer with immediate effect.

o   Mr Berwick has held several senior executive positions within leading independent oil and gas operators, including privately owned and Africa-focused Impact Oil & Gas ('Impact') and Ophir Energy plc, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange ('Ophir', OPHR.L).

·        In addition, three Non-Executive Directors, whose biographies are outlined below, have been appointed to the Board of the Company:

o   Mr Phil Beck, a geologist and petroleum engineer

o   Mr Nick Butler, the published economist and Senior Policy Adviser to Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown; and

o   Ms Sarah Cope, a highly experienced investment banker.

·        PJ Davies, Non-Executive Director, has had to step down from the Board at the request of his primary employer.  Shortly after the Company's admission to trading on AIM, PJ moved to a new role which is subject to ethics and conflict of interest rules prohibiting employees from acting as directors of public companies. His employer helpfully allowed PJ to continue for a period of time, but now that the new directors are in place he is able to resign.

·        Alex MacDonald, Country Manager, Congo, has resigned from the Board with immediate effect and has submitted his resignation as an employee, which will take effect at the end of the month.


The above appointments represent a strengthening of the Company's management team ahead of the TLP-103 drilling campaign at its 56% owned Tilapia oil field ('Tilapia') in the prolific Lower Congo Basin. This includes the establishment of the new operational team that will enable it to implement its strategy to develop the Tilapia asset.

James Berwick (Chief Executive Officer)

Between 2013 and 2018, James held the board-level position of Commercial Director of Impact, during which he oversaw a significant expansion of the company's activities, including the acquisition of six assets. Mr Berwick was also instrumental in securing farm-out agreements with operators including Exxon, Statoil, Woodside, CNOOC and Total.   

At Ophir, James was Director of New Business (2006 - 2013) with responsibility for scaling up and managing the company's portfolio ahead of its successful IPO in 2011.  As well as overseeing every commercial transaction completed during this period, he was also responsible for successfully de-risking Ophir's asset base within the constraints of available capex.  James previously held the role of General Manager for Gabon where Ophir drilled several wells under his supervision and he managed the company's operated assets throughout Africa, including Marine IX in the Republic of the Congo. Over the course of his career, during which he was also Head of Global Security and Risk at Woodside Energy, James has built up an extensive network of contacts within Africa and the oil and gas sector, including with super-majors, governments and leading industry advisers.

Before his career in the oil and gas industry, James served for 12 years in the British Army and the French Foreign Legion.

In line with the Company's policy of aligning management's remuneration with significant production growth, it is intended that James will participate in the Management Incentive Scheme under which options will generally not vest until daily total oil production at Tilapia reaches certain production milestones measured over a consecutive 30-day period: one-third at 1,000 bopd; one-third at 2,500 bopd; one-third at 5,000 bopd.

Phil Beck (Non-Executive Director)

Phil is a senior energy industry business consultant with over forty years' commercial, engineering and project management experience in the upstream oil and gas industry. Trained as a geologist and petroleum engineer, he spent his early career with British Gas and Unocal Corporation.  For the last 24 years, he has worked as a consultant during which he assisted Saudi development company, Delta International, on several M&A transactions in the upstream oil and gas sector as well as in other industry sectors. Phil was formerly engaged as an adviser to Lazard for energy-related transactions and has been a director of a number of energy companies, including Centurion Energy (operating in Egypt and Tunisia), formerly a Canadian listed oil and gas company, and Island Oil and Gas plc (operating in Ireland and the Netherlands), formerly quoted on the LSE AIM market.  He was also a director of a Middle East service company operating in Saudi Arabia and neighbouring countries.

Nick Butler (Non-Executive Director)

Nick is the founding Chairman of the Policy Institute at King's College London, which links academic work to policy-makers in the UK and across Europe. Since May 2010, he has held the post of Visiting Professor at King's College London and is currently the external adviser and reviewer of the World Energy Outlook - the flagship publication of the International Energy Agency. In addition, Nick is a member of the Strategic Advisory Council of Statoil, the Norwegian state controlled energy company and serves on the Advisory Council Centre for Ecology and Hydrology - an independent agency wholly owned by the UK Government.  Between 2009 and 2010, Nick was Senior Policy Adviser to Gordon Brown, then UK Prime Minister, specialising in business policy and the stabilisation of the UK economy after the 2008 financial crash.  Between 2007 and 2009, Nick served as Chairman of the Cambridge Centre for Energy Studies based at the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.

Prior to his economic consultancy work, Nick held several senior positions at BP plc ( BP.L ) including Group Vice-President for Strategy and Policy Development, advising the Chief Executive and the Executive Committee on climate change, mergers and acquisitions, organisational change and major new ventures; Group Policy Adviser to the Chief Executive on all aspects of policy; Head of External Affairs, responsible for the company's links with stakeholders, including NGOs, the financial community, investors, the media and Government; and Head of Investor Relations for upstream exploration and production.

Sarah Cope (Non-Executive Director)

Sarah has over 20 years' experience as an investment banker in London, advising small and mid-sized companies at Board level on corporate governance, growth strategy, acquisitions and disposals, capital markets and regulatory compliance. Over the last ten years, she has specialised in the oil and gas sector, assisting listed oil and gas companies to raise finance for their exploration, development and production projects around the world.  Her most recent role was with Cantor Fitzgerald Europe, the global investment bank and brokerage business, where she was until very recently Managing Director and Co-Head of Energy.  Prior to this, Sarah was Head of Oil & Gas at RFC Ambrian and at finnCap.  She has also been Director of Equity Capital Markets at RBC Capital Markets and Director of Corporate Finance at Seymour Pierce.

David Sefton, Executive Chairman of AAOG, commented:

" Tilapia represents a very special opportunity and the business case of the Company is as compelling as ever. For this reason, we took the view that we needed to enhance the capacity of the Company to avoid the previous delays that have hampered our progress over the last year and follow through on the proposition and work programme outlined to our investors.  The appointment of James Berwick, whose experience and track record in the African oil and gas sector is outstanding, represents a step change in the executive capacity of the Company to deliver on its strategy.  Combined with the previously announced appointment of Alain Guiraud as Drilling Manager to lead the drilling of TLP-103, we now have an excellent operational team in place ahead of the Tilapia work programme. 

"In parallel, to have secured the services of individuals of the calibre and experience of Nick Butler, Sarah Cope and Phil Beck as Non-Executive Directors is, in my view, a clear vote of confidence in the Company's strategy and Tilapia.  They each have much to contribute and we all look forward to working with them.

"I also want to take the opportunity to thank PJ Davies for his very substantial contribution to the Company, and his resignation is a matter of considerable regret.

"We remain focused on obtaining a new licence for the Tilapia field and then moving to drill TLP-103. This is a multi-target horizon well targeting the R1 and R2 and then Mengo sandstone sequences within the Pointe Indienne formation, and finally the deeper Djeno sandstone, which is known to be a prolific producer on neighbouring fields. I look forward to providing updates on this programme in due course."



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AAOGceoChief Executive OfficerAnglo African Oil & Gas

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