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Gatwick oil baron David Lenigas steps down from Ukog board

Monaco-based Australian entrepreneur plans to focus on other business interests instead of Gatwick oil find

David Lenigas has stepped down from the board of UK Oil and Gas Investments (Ukog), the Aim-listed company that caused a stir earlier this year with its claim it had found an oil field of “national significance” a few miles from Gatwick.

Mr Lenigas who is Monaco based will no longer serve as chairman of the company that is behind the so-called “Gatwick gusher” in the Weald basin in Surrey and Sussex.

The company said in a statement to the stock exchange that Mr Lenigas, who has been an enthusiastic champion of the exploiting oil at Horse Hill in Surrey on social media, will now focus on other business interests.

He will be replaced by Stephen Sanderson, who has been the company’s chief executive.

"It is my policy to step down from the boards of companies once I believe that they have reached a state of maturity where they require sector-experienced executive management to take over,” said Mr Lenigas. “The progress the company has made is a source of great satisfaction and I feel confident that this is the right time to hand over the reins to a respected oil executive with high credentials who I believe will continue to drive the company forward."

Last month, Ukog said that it had made a pre-tax net loss of £383,000 for the six months ending March 31, compared with £290,000 in the same period a year earlier. The company’s operations are heavily focused on proving the viability of extracting oil from the Horse Hill licence in which it owns a stake.

In a series of reports this year, Ukog and its partners in Horse Hill have claimed that more than 9.2 billion billions of barrels of oil in place (OIP) lie under the 55-square-kilometre licence area in the Weald Basin. However, some experts have questioned these reports .

Mr Sanderson will take charge of Ukog as its Horse Hill development embarks on the most crucial part of the project. Flow tests that will determine the viability of the scheme are soon to be conducted pending regulatory approval .

In April, Mr Lenigas announced on Twitter (Xetra: A1W6XZ - news) that he had established Leni Gas Cuba. The company is registered in the British Virgin Islands and will focus on oil and gas opportunities in Cuba, on the brink of opening up after a historic reconciliation with the US.

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