Sept. 10 (Bloomberg) -- BG Group Plc, the U.K.’s third-largest natural-gas producer, said Chief Financial Officer Fabio Barbosa was granted a leave of absence to undergo medical treatment in Brazil.
Barbosa, 51, will be treated for a “recently diagnosed condition,” the Reading, England-based company said today in a statement, without elaborating. Financial Controller Den Jones will take over his duties, probably for the rest of the year.
A former finance chief at Brazil’s Vale SA, Barbosa was appointed BG’s CFO last year and has helped manage its projects in the country. He’s also been one of three internal candidates to replace Chief Executive Officer Frank Chapman when he retires next year. Executive Director Chris Finlayson and Chief Operating Officer Martin Houston are also in the running.
“Barbosa has a broader remit in managing relationships with Brazil, and that’s a key risk for the company as they go into the development stage,” said Stuart Joyner, an analyst at Investec Securities Ltd. in London. “While BG has been well-managed over the years, recently there’s been volatility, so this comes at a tricky time.”
BG holds stakes in five projects in Brazil’s so-called pre-salt region. The company is a partner with state-run Petroleo Brasileiro SA and Portugal’s Galp Energia SGPS SA at the 6.5 billion-barrel Lula field in the Santos Basin, the biggest discovery in the Americas since 1976.
BG expects to produce 600,000 barrels of oil a day from the Santos Basin by 2020, or about 43 percent of its planned total output.
Oil and gas analysts including Nomura Holdings Inc. have urged BG to sell part of its Brazilian operations to reduce its exposure to one country and secure funding for projects worldwide.
“BG either has to achieve scale and significance or take some value off the table” in Brazil, Jefferies Group Inc. said last week.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc are the biggest U.K.- listed gas producers.
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