Chairman of Shoal Point stepping down

Ashley Fitzpatrick afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com
Published on June 26, 2013

Company involved with fracking proposals to hold AGM Friday

The chairman of the board of directors of Shoal Point Energy will be stepping down at the company’s annual general meeting of shareholders on Friday.

Norman Davidson Kelly will not be looking for re-election to his position, but will remain “a major shareholder” in the company, according to a Shoal Point Energy statement issued Wednesday.

Davidson Kelly’s departure from the board of directors is attributed to the company’s transition to the role of a non-operating company, as partners like Black Spruce Exploration take over operational decisions for license areas, including possible use of fracking for oil exploration in western Newfoundland.

Davidson Kelly is expected to be replaced “with a qualified representative from the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Shoal Point Energy’s statement notes Davidson Kelly has been a key hand in efforts to understand the potential shale oil resource in the area.

“From the time of his becoming involved with Shoal Point, he was able to engage the services of NuTech Energy Alliance, one of the world’s leading petrophysical analysis firms based in Houston, Texas, and utilize their expertise to understand the geology and the potential enormity of the oil resource,” stated the release.

The company statement makes no mention of Davidson Kelly’s past business dealings becoming subject of a CBC exposé in mid-June.

That report included criticisms of Davidson Kelly, flowing from an Australian inquiry examining the role companies in that country played in taking in funds from the UN oil-for-food program.

The investigation included a look at Kelly's work with BHP Petroleum and Tigris Petroleum from the mid-1990s into the early 2000s.

No charges were ever laid against Davidson Kelly, but inquiry commissioner Terence Cole referred to him as "a thoroughly disreputable man with no commercial morality" in a final report to the Australian Parliament.

Following release of the CBC story, Liberal MP Gerry Byrne told The Telegram Shoal Point Energy's chairman faces "serious ethical issues" in regards to his past business dealings.

Provincial government representatives and opposition MHAs said they did not see the criticisms affecting discussions on fracking proposals or the hunt for oil in western newfoundland.