Cove Ex-CEO Craven Starts New Oil Company to Explore East Africa

John Craven, the oil executive who presided over a 20-fold jump in value at Cove Energy Plc, will use his experience in East Africa to set up an oil and gas exploration company focused on the region.

Craven will head Discover Exploration Plc, which has a production sharing contract off the Comoros Islands between Mozambique and Madagascar. Michael Blaha and Michael Nolan, Cove’s former executive chairman and chief financial officer, respectively, will take on the same roles at the new company.

“Our objective is to enter into various deepwater turbidite plays in young emerging basins, with reliable and proven partners, and with value added through drilling,” Blaha said in a statement. “Whilst entry into Africa is a primary target, our discussions are not restricted to this geography.”

Cove, which owned 8.5 percent of the Rovuma-1 exploration block in Mozambique, sold itself for $1.9 billion to Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production Pcl after a bidding war with Royal Dutch Shell Plc. More than 100 trillion cubic feet of gas have been discovered off Tanzania and Mozambique, enough to meet global consumption for a year.

Discover, which has acreage adjacent to the Rovuma basin, has financing from Oranje-Nassau Energie BV as well as the management team and board.

Cove’s 240-pence-a-share sale price compares with 12 pence a share at its 2009 initial public offering.

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