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Tony Hayward in line for multimillion windfall after Iraq oil deal

Hayward, who quit BP 14 months ago following the Deepwater Horizon disaster, will be chief executive of Genel Energy PLC, which has oil reserves in Kurdistan

Tony Hayward has sealed a deal to exploit the oil fields of Iraq’s Kurdistan region, landing the former BP boss an expected windfall of around £14m.

Hayward’s return to the top of the oil industry was finalised on Wednesday as the former BP boss’s new investment vehicle, called Vallares, agreed a merger with Genel Energy International of Turkey. The deal will deliver an estimated £176m windfall for Hayward and his fellow backers of Vallares, including Nat Rothschild.

Hayward said the deal would allow Vallares exploit “one of the last great frontiers in the oil and gas industry”.

“Arguably, it [Kurdistan] is the last big onshore ‘easy’ oil province available for exploration by private companies anywhere in the world,” he added.

The combined company will be named Genel Energy PLC, and aims to join the FTSE 100 by early 2012.

Hayward, who quit BP 14 months ago following the Deepwater Horizon disaster, will be chief executive of Genel Energy PLC, sealing his return to the ranks of major oil firm bosses. On a conference call with reporters he refused to discuss how the transformation of his fortunes over the last year contrasted with the ongoing struggle faced by those affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Genel holds proved and probable reserves of 356m barrels of oil. It is well-placed to tap Kurdistan’s huge reserves of hydrocarbons, with an estimated 40bn barrels of oil still to be discovered. Hayward compared the region’s potential to that of the North Sea.

Vallares will issue .1bn (£1.3bn) worth of new shares, and use the proceeds to buy Genel in a 50:50 merger that will see the Turkish firm merge with Vallares and take its share listing through a “reverse takeover”.

Vallares was created by Hayward, Rothschild and two other businessmen earlier this year, raising £1.35bn through a stock market flotation.

Under the terms in which Vallares was created, the four co-founders will share a windfall worth 6.67% of the group’s value once it completed its first major deal, in return for injecting a total £100m at its creation. That means the quartet will share around £170m, depending on their original stakes. The split of the £100m was not made public, but Hayward reportedly contributed £8m.

Back in February 2010, Mehmet Sepil, the current CEO of Genel, was hit with a record fine of almost £1m for insider trading. The Financial Services Authority imposed the penalty after Sepil, and two colleagues, bought shares in Heritage Oil following confidential test results that revealed that Heritage and Genel had made a major oil discovery. Sepil insisted that he had not realised that this breached insider dealing rules.

Sepil will become president of the new company, but will not serve on its board. Some analysts have questioned whether, given this fine, Genel would have been allowed to list in London with Sepil at the helm.

City grandee Rodney Chase will chair the company. He insised on Wednesday that Genel Energy will show “total adherance” to City rules. Chase added that the merger with Genel showed that companies from around the world could be attracted to list in London. © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds