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CALGARY HERALD: Shell Canada CEO Mather to retire as buyout ensues

Established firm’s ‘green’ credibility

SHAUN POLCZER

Shell Canada Limited on Thursday began the task of formally unwinding almost a century as a public company with the retirement of its CEO, Clive Mather.

Mather, a 38-year veteran of the parent company and its various affiliates, will be stepping down later this summer, Shell said in a statement.

Mather took over the company’s reins in August 2004 until it was taken private by majority shareholder Royal Dutch Shell.

Earlier this month, Royal Dutch completed the $8.7billion buyout of Shell Canada’s minority shareholders.

During his tenure, Mather worked to establish Shell’s “green” credentials and bucked a trend of major oil companies opposed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

During what he said was his last keynote speech to an industry conference in February, Mather told a Toronto audience that Canada must step forward as a “clean energy superpower” in the development of its energy resources.

“Remember, with strength goes responsibility to others and yourselves,” he said.

Mather insisted that clean energy development ought to be a top national, as well as corporate priority.

He oversaw the company’s largest-ever corporate acquisition, the $2.4-billion takeover of Blackrock Ventures Inc. last summer.

In addition, he engineered the company’s oilsands strategy during a period of rapidly escalating cost increases that saw the final price tag for expanding the Athabasca Oil Sands Project balloon to $12.8 billion.

Mather was unavailable for comment Thursday, but spokesman Jeff Mann said he would be staying on as chief executive until June 6, when he will be replaced on an interim basis by Adrian Loader, Royal Dutch’s director of strategy and business development.

Loader will oversee an executive committee charged with integrating the Canadian subsidiary into Royal Dutch. “Cl ive continues to be the CEO until that date,” Mann said.

Mann added that no time frame has been set for the delisting of the company’s shares, but the transition is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

According to the Nickle’s Daily Oil Bulletin oilpatch history website, Shell Canada has had a long and storied past in Alberta.

While searching for oil, it made the first major natural gas discovery at Jumping Pound west of Calgary in 1944, establishing itself as the first natural-gas player in Alberta.

It missed out on the Leduc and Redwater oil discoveries, but in subsequent years it became a deep Foothills pioneer in southern Alberta at Waterton and Pincher Creek.

In 1952 it became the first company in Canada to recover sulphur from sour gas, again at Jumping Pound.

The gas discoveries continued even while the company repositioned itself in the oilsands, with the Tay River discovery in 2004.

As of last November, the Tay River discovery well, touted as the biggest find in two decades, was producing 90 million cubic feet of gas a day.

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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