The Board of Directors of Beach Energy has announced the appointment of Morné Engelbrecht as Chief Executive Officer, with immediate effect.
Mr Engelbrecht’s appointment follows an extensive international recruitment process led by Beach’s Board of Directors and external advisors.
The search process, coupled with Mr Engelbrecht’s strong performance in the role of Acting Chief Executive Officer, confirmed that he is the ideal candidate to lead Beach through ongoing execution of its development programs and the next phase of growth, Beach said.
Mr Engelbrecht has over 20 years of oil, gas and resource sector experience, including the last six years with Beach Energy. Mr Engelbrecht joined Beach in 2016 as Chief Financial Officer and was instrumental in the transformational acquisition and subsequent integration of Lattice Energy.
In November 2021, Mr Engelbrecht assumed the role of Acting Chief Executive Officer and has overseen successful progress of Beach’s major capital programs in the offshore Otway Basin and Perth Basin, which are being delivered safely, on schedule and on budget.
Commenting on the appointment, Chairman Glenn Davis said: “We are very pleased that Morné has accepted the role of Chief Executive Officer. Morné has clearly demonstrated his leadership capabilities over many years with Beach and his credentials are ideally suited for continuing the delivery of our strategy. On behalf of the Board, we welcome Morné to the role”, Mr Davis said.
Mr Engelbrecht said: “It is an honour to be appointed Chief Executive Officer of Beach Energy. I am passionate about the company and the role we play in supplying much needed oil and gas to support society’s ongoing energy needs. Beach has a proud history spanning more than 60 years and I am excited be part of its future. I look forward to continuing engagement with our investors and stakeholders as we deliver our growth strategy,” Mr Engelbrecht said.
Beach Energy received the APPEA Award for ‘Project Environment Excellence’ for collaborating with fishers to develop an extensive research program into the potential impacts of marine seismic surveys on scallop and lobsters.
The research program was developed from a genuine consultation process Beach undertook with the fishing sector in preparation for the Prion Seismic Survey, which took place in the offshore Bass Basin in Commonwealth waters approximately 73km east of King Island in 2021.
The first study was to assess scallop biomass and conduct a ‘before and after’ impact assessment on potential new scallop beds in a small part in the south-west corner of the Prion Survey area.
The second study is a nation-leading collaborative research project to test emerging advanced seismic survey technologies whilst also researching the impacts to scallop and lobster from conventional compared to the new technologies.
Engelbrecht said Beach’s consultation and collaborative approach with fishers was consistent with the company’s purpose to sustainably deliver energy for communities.
“Rather than rest on the existing scientific evidence that seismic surveys do not adversely impact fisheries in our survey area, we listened to the fishing industry’s concerns and undertook two key studies to further build upon the evidence base,” Mr Engelbrecht said.
“We are very pleased to be recognised with the prestigious APPEA Environment Award, and we look forward to sharing more information about the results of the study.”
Beach Energy Group Manager Social Performance and Community Linda French, who on Wednesday copresented on the study with Andrew Sullivan from the Bass Strait Scallop Industry Association (BSSIA), said the relationship between the oil and gas and commercial fishing industries is critical.
“A source of conflict between our two industries in the past has been conjecture around the impacts of seismic surveys on the marine environment, in particular impacts to commercially targeted species such as scallops,” Ms French said.
“Beach wanted to demonstrate that it heard the concerns of the fishing sector and agreed to go the extra mile to build upon the evidence base.”
Results of the studies will be known later in the year.
Bass Basin Acreage
Beach Energy also announced that reprocessing of existing 3D seismic over the Yolla field had revealed a previously unidentified fault block, Yolla West, which is drillable from the existing Yolla platform.
If successful, Yolla West could be connected to the Lang Lang Gas Plant soon after drilling. Beach has decided to prioritise the development of Yolla West, which presents as a lower-cost, nearer-term and higher-returning investment opportunity.
Consequently, a Final Investment Decision (FID) for Trefoil has been deferred beyond the previously advised timing of H1 FY23. Due to the decision to defer FID for Trefoil, the related reserves will be reclassified to contingent resources in Beach’s 30 June 2022 Reserves and Resources Statement (to be released in August 2022) and confirmed as part of the annual reserves audit.
Deferral of FID for Trefoil will provide more time to complete interpretation of the Prion 3D seismic survey (expected mid-FY23), refine the most cost-effective development option and benchmark the Trefoil investment case against other growth opportunities within Beach’s portfolio.
Negotiations are in progress for securing a rig for Yolla West with drilling targeting the summer of 2022/23.
If successful, Yolla West has the potential to return the Lang Lang Gas Plant to capacity production rates of 67 TJ/day and would extend Yolla’s field life.
Drilling is subject to regulatory and joint venture approvals and securing a rig. Cost estimates will be provided as part of Beach’s FY23 capital expenditure guidance in August 2022.
Commenting on the Bass Basin acreage, Engelbrecht said “The decision to prioritise Yolla West and defer Trefoil is consistent with our focus on pursuing value maximising investments.
“As elevated demand in the east coast gas market exacerbates spot gas prices, Yolla West presents as an opportunity to get new gas supply to market in a timely manner. Market engagement for these potential new volumes will commence shortly,” Mr Engelbrecht said.