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AWE Recruits Clement From Roc to Lead Oil Exploration

AWE Ltd., an Australian oil and gas explorer that has embarked on a A$175 million ($171 million) drilling program, said it named Roc Oil Co.’s Bruce Clement as managing director.

Clement, Roc Oil chief executive officer since 2008, will replace Bruce Wood in February, Sydney-based AWE said in a statement today to the Australian stock exchange. AWE announced July 30 that Wood had decided to retire as he turns 60.

Roc fell 4.6 percent to 41.5 Australian cents a share by the market’s 4:10 p.m. close in Sydney, the biggest drop in five weeks, valuing the company at A$296 million. AWE gained 0.3 percent to A$1.505, giving it a market value of A$785 million. The S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.5 percent.

Roc, an explorer with assets in Australia, China and Africa, has fallen 35 percent in Sydney since the company said Feb. 3 that its reserves would likely decline by as much as 25 percent. The company slashed estimated reserves at the Basker-Manta project off southeast Australia after a review of the field.

Clement, 53, said in a statement today that Roc had “overcome a number of challenges.” The Sydney-based explorer named Chief Operating Officer Alan Linn acting CEO and said a search for a successor would likely take “several” months.

The performance of the Basker-Manta fields “continues to be unsatisfactory and the reduction of existing exposure to the African asset portfolio is taking longer than anticipated,” the company said in a separate statement today. “These challenges will be addressed.”

Roc said it expects to make a final investment decision on the Beibu Gulf project in China before the end of the year to drive growth.

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