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Athabasca Oil announces sudden departure of president from company

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

CALGARY - Shares in Athabasca Oil Corp. hit a record low Monday after the company announced the abrupt departure of its president and a new executive committee to "refine" its operational performance.

The stock sank as much as 9.4 per cent to $5.71 — a new low — but recovered somewhat to close down 34 cents or 5.4 per cent at $5.96.

A company news release doesn't say why Bryan Gould left the company. Calls to the company were not immediately returned.

"We appreciate the many contributions that Bryan made during his time with Athabasca and wish him all the best in his future endeavours," CEO Sveinung Svarte said.

Svarte is assuming the role of president.

Athabasca said it has also formed an "executive operational and development committee."

"The committee is intended to refine the company's operational performance plan, targeting top tier operational performance while incorporating operational flexibility consistent with corporate financing," Athabasca said.

Athabasca has been trying to form a joint venture for its Hangingstone oilsands property in Alberta, but so far a deal has failed to materialize.

The fate of its Dover oilsands project, part of a joint venture with PetroChina, is also uncertain. PetroChina has the option of buying Athabasca's 40 per cent stake in Dover for $1.32 billion within a month of the project obtaining regulatory approval. The longer the approval process drags on, the longer Athabasca has to wait to get that much needed cash infusion.

Early last year, PetroChina bought the remaining stake in the MacKay River oilsands project for $680 million, which was also included in the joint venture.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/the-canadian-press/130506/athabasca-oil-announces-sudden-departure-president-company