Bear Head LNG announces management shakeup

During Bear Head LNG’s short history, John Godbold has been the public face of an outfit that is seeking to build a liquefied natural gas export facility on Cape Breton Island.

Today, Australian-based Liquefied Natural Gas Limited – Bear Head LNG’s parent company – announced that Godbold, who has been the company’ chief executive officer and project director, is leaving the company to “pursue outside opportunities.”

Also leaving Bear Head LNG is chief financial officer Ian Salmon.

No more details were given as to why Godbold and Salmon are moving on.

More information would be nice. Absent that, we are left to speculate.

And my speculation is that a significant management shakeup like this as the project’s owners get ready to make a final investment decision in 2016 could signal trouble for Bear Head LNG.

Are Godbold and Salmon leaving because they don’t think Bear Head LNG has a hope in hell of being built? Were they clashing with their Australian bosses on the direction of the project?

Or is it simply a case of them finding better jobs elsewhere?

Management changes in the oil and gas business are pretty common. And Liquefied Natural Gas Limited CEO Maurice Brand made it clear in Monday’s press release announcing Godbold and Salmon’s departure that the company is still bullish about the project.

“LNGL executives and I will be in Nova Scotia next month to speak with many key stakeholders, including politicians, regulators, contractors, and the local team, to assure a smooth transition and to reiterate LNGL’s strong commitment to see Bear Head LNG through to construction and operations,” Brand said in the release.

But LNG export projects being proposed for Atlantic Canada already have plenty of doubters.

The fact that two of Bear Head’s senior managers are leaving the company at such a critical time could mean Godbold and Salmon are among those doubters as well.

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