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The Good Oil On Heated Words In Boardroom
July 15, 2008
THERE has been a boardroom split at listed oil exploration minnow Range Resources , with executive director Peter Landau resigning over the weekend after his relationship with managing director Mike Povey and key shareholder Leo Khouri reached boiling point.
Landau quit after clashing with Khouri in a Dubai hotel - Landau flew from London and Khouri from Melbourne for the meeting. "They rattled swords," said a source close to Landau.
Full Disclosure has speculated in the past about just how much power Khouri has at Range Resources, and the muscle car collector now wants a seat on the board. Khouri could not be contacted for comment.
No announcement has been made to the market, but holding up the power shift is approval of Khouri as director from London 's Alternative Investment Market .
Due to Range's dual-listed structure, an AIM nominated adviser, or "Nomad", will have to approve Khouri's rise to the Range boardroom. Which would mark a remarkable rise from Toyota mechanic and part-time kickboxer to internet day trader to director of a Somali oil explorer in less than a decade.
Also walking out with Landau is Range's top man in Puntland, Libane Muse , a nephew of Puntland President Adde Muse .
The boardroom spat leaves the drilling project of Range Resources in a delicate spot, with elections due in Puntland early in the new year.
The word is that Range Resources has six months to drill for oil, then the political landscape in Puntland changes dramatically.
There's no doubt that Khouri has an intimate knowledge of Range's business. He has visited Puntland as part of a company delegation, but his gruff manner apparently didn't endear him to local clan leaders.
On new beat
FULL Disclosure notes that two men who list Victoria Police as a past employer on their resumes performed the security vetting of Puntland on behalf of Range Resources .
Leo Khouri apparently hired the team that did a security assessment of Puntland for Range - a team that included one member of Victoria Police who is on extended leave.
"Nothing to see here, move along," was the tone of the security report, which was compiled after visiting sites while under the protection of Puntland warlords.
Which makes you wonder why the Canadian Government felt it necessary to send three warships to the coast of Puntland to battle pirates last month.
There have been 24 acts of piracy off the coast of the Horn of Africa this year. Steve Paget , chief of staff for the Canadian flotilla, says the pirates come from Puntland. "These guys are from Somali clans and operate from camps in lawless areas. They are desperate," Paget told Canwest news.
It's not just the Canadians who have been cracking down on piracy. When Puntland-based pirates captured a luxury yacht and held 30 crew hostage this year, France sent in a helicopter-borne commando team to rescue them.
Despite piracy, operating an oil project in Puntland probably isn't as tough as patrolling King Street after 2am.