Solo Oil (LON: SOLO), a natural resources investment company focused on assembling a balanced, full lifecycle portfolio comprised of production, development and exploration assets, has today announced that it has strengthened its senior management team through the appointment of Romina Mele-Cornish as Chief Financial Officer and Doug Rycroft as Chief Operating Officer with immediate effect, with the expectation that they will be appointed to the Board in due course.
Appointment of CFO
Mrs Mele-Cornish joins from Oil & Gas UK, a leading UK offshore oil and gas industry lobby organisation, where she served as Fiscal Policy Manager since 2017. In that role, she represented around 400 members on fiscal matters, shaped government policies and successfully negotiated complex legislative provisions that advance industry’s interests.
Mrs Mele-Cornish began her career at Deloitte in 2006, where she became an Assistant Director with a focus on upstream Oil & Gas. During this time, she worked in the Corporate Finance team, specialising in M&A deals and Capital Market transactions, and spent time seconded to BP’s M&A team to provide guidance on transaction execution and legal agreements.
After leaving Deloitte in 2014, she joined Oyster Petroleum, a Private Equity backed UKCS focused E&P company, in Business Development, and managed two A&D processes with a combined valuation of circa £150 million. Upon the sale of Oyster Petroleum, she established her own consulting firm, Colibri Energy Consulting. In her capacity as an independent consultant specialising in business development and corporate planning, Mrs Mele-Cornish advised Edison E&P UK Limited senior management on a range of commercial, business and corporate development and new venture activities. These included commercial support to existing portfolio assets (Scott and Telford) and farm-in screening on Southern North Sea gas opportunities.
Mrs Mele-Cornish, ACA, is a member of Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, as well as the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain. She has a Graduate Certificate in Geology from Birkbeck/UCL and a MA in European Communication Studies from Amsterdam University.
Appointment of COO
Mr Rycroft has been acting as General Manager of Solo since being seconded by Gneiss Energy in March 2019. During this time, he has played an instrumental role in helping the Board to deliver on its strategic objectives in terms of rationalising the portfolio and driving new business development.
Mr Rycroft is an experienced operations manager and commercial negotiator having held asset management, business development and commercial roles across the upstream oil and gas industry and as a specialist energy advisor. In 2017, Mr Rycroft joined Gneiss Energy Limited (“Gneiss”) where he held the role of Commercial Director specialising in M&A and capital raising advisory work for both public and private energy companies and successfully executing projects across a board range of geographies including the UKNS, Europe, Africa and Latin America.
Prior to joining Gneiss, Mr Rycroft joined Ophir Energy in 2012, where he managed their flagship asset in Tanzania, at a time when the company drilled up the major resource base to support the onshore terrestrial LNG development. The culmination of his commercial efforts in Tanzania was the divestment of 50% of the remaining stake in the project for US$ 1.3 billion to Pavilion Energy.
Mr Rycroft was part of the management team that established a privately-owned California onshore operator (2007-2011) securing a joint venture with the ExxonMobil / Shell joint operating company Aera Energy LLC (“Aera”) for the deep exploration rights under the sixth largest oilfield in the continental United States, South Belridge. In his role he was responsible for all in-country operations of the company, commercial interactions with Aera and supported the fundraising efforts of the Board.
Mr Rycroft holds a Masters in Terrorism and International Relations from Aberystwyth University and an MA (Hons) in History and Politics from the University of Edinburgh.
Commenting on these appointments, Alastair Ferguson, Solo Oil Executive Chairman, said:
“These both represent high-quality appointments that further strengthen our management capabilities with the relevant skillset and experience that we require as we continue through this strategic evolution.
Romina’s varied industry background lends itself perfectly to our current juncture in terms of Corporate Finance and M&A experience, and the expertise garnered through her role with Oil & Gas UK will serve us well as we seek to execute transformational growth in line with our stated objectives.
Doug has already proven himself to be a highly valuable member of the team bringing exceptional technical and commercial skills that have contributed significantly to our continued turnaround, so we are pleased to formalise his role as COO and benefit from his talents going forward.
On behalf of the Board, we welcome both to their respective new roles and look forward to working with them as we deliver our ambitious growth strategy.”