Frustrated Oilex prepares Cambay shutdown

Vol 19, PW 17 (05 May 16) Exploration & Production

Hopes that new Oilex managing director Jonathan Salomon could improve the company's strained relationship with partner GSPC seem to have died.

PETROWATCH learns the cash-strapped Australian explorer is planning to pull out of the Cambay field they jointly share. Oilex wants to shut its Cambay operations by June faced with continued GSPC refusal to pay its share of the Cambay development programme and future work.

This news is likely to hit Oilex's already depressed share price which rebounded in April after it announced gas production from the smaller Bhandut field. When contacted on April 27 Oilex India chief Jayant Sethi said: "I'm not authorised to say anything." Sethi advised this report to contact Perth-based Salomon but all attempts to reach Salomon were unsuccessful.

"He's busy in a meeting and will call you back," his receptionist said. Oilex sources tell this report the company is drastically cutting India staff strength.

In April 12 people were asked to leave: eight from Cambay and four from the Gandhinagar head office including Oilex drilling manager Lane Dunham who joined in April 2015. In February and March several contracts for freelance employees were discontinued while in January six workers were laid off.

Today Oilex has only 38 employees in India: 14 at Cambay, 17 at Gandhinagar and seven at Bhandut.