By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — Former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds has taken over the helm of the troubled Bula Resources oil company to become its chairman in a major executive and boardroom shakeup.
The Longford TD attempted to mediate on the weapons inspection impasse prior to the current round of bombing raids on Iraq and he will now use his good contacts in Baghdad and Tripoli for the company.
Bula is recovering from a disastrous foray into Russian oil exploration and development, which lost it an estimated £20 million, and it is now concentrated on activities in the Middle East and North Africa.
Tanaiste Mary Harney appointed an inspector, barrister Lydon MacCann, to investigate Bula’s affairs and he concluded that Siberian well tests had been falsified.
Former chairman and chief executive John Stanley disappeared for a period only to reappear in a failed attempt to challenge McCann’s findings that he had benefited from some of the money the company lost.
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As part of the company shakeup, Bula has new funding of £1.75 million from a placement of its 1p shares.
Reynolds, who has already announced his intention to step down from politics at the next election, accepted it will be a major task to restore confidence in the company.
"It is a big challenge, no question about it, but it is a new start for the company. Hopefully, it will be a turning point with the appointment of new management, new executive board, new non-executive board and a financial package put in place.
"Most of all what the company wants me to do is to get involved in Libya and Iraq because those are the most sought-after places in the world by any oil companies because of the low cost of production in those areas," Reynolds said.
"Those are the areas where the real focus is going to be on behalf of the shareholders, to try to sign up contracts there for both development and exploration wells, and, hopefully, we will succeed."
The shares, which have been languishing at 1p, surged ahead to 1.5p following the changes.