Karoon appoints Portuguese-speaking CEO for Brazil expansion

Karoon Energy has appointed Julian Fowles to the chief executive officer and managing director posts as the junior oil and gas explorer prepares to expand its operations in Brazil, a move that will lift its oil production to just below Australian oil and gas majors.

Dr Fowles will take up the new role at Karoon’s annual general meeting on November 27, replacing company founder Bob Hosking. The stock closed at 90¢ on Monday, up from a low of 38¢ in early March.

As the Baúna field in Brazil inches closer to production, RBS analyst Gordon Ramsay backed the appointment of Portuguese-speaking Dr Fowles as an experienced set of hands to lead Karoon into a new tier on the Australian Securities Exchange.

The company is set to produce more than 15,000 barrels per day (15kboepd) once the oilfield assets, located in the Santos Basin of Brazil, come on stream. Only the Australian majors - Woodside, Origin, Santos, Oil Search, Beach Energy - will have larger production bases, Mr Ramsay observed.

"Karoon is on the verge of transitioning from a pure explorer to a cash flow generating producer and we think Julian’s 17 years of international experience from Shell International, Cairn Energy, Petra Energia, a $US1 billion ($1.4 billion) private enterprise in Brazil, and Oil Search will be a benefit to the company," Mr Ramsay said.

The Bauna field lies close to Karoon's oil discoveries. Karoon Gas