Woodside Petroleum head of international oil and gas Jeff Soine has resigned suddenly and there is speculation other senior executives will be following suit.
Soine joins former northwest shelf head Kevin Gallagher, who is yet to be replaced, as the latest departure from the company’s top ranks.
The management reshuffle is being driven by new CEO Peter Coleman, who arrived in May.
Soine, Gallagher, and Woodside’s Australian business unit head Lucio Della Martina were unsuccessful applicants for Coleman’s CEO position.
According to the Australian many inside Woodside considered Soine a strong contender for the CEO role.
Both Soine and Della Martina are known to be close to former Woodside boss Don Voelte.
During Voelte’s seven-year reign Gallagher, Della Martina, and Soine were promoted to senior executive positions.
New CEO Coleman, a 27-year ExxonMobil veteran, has spent the last four months differentiating himself from Voelte.
Following Soine’s departure Sunrise LNG project chief Jon Ozturgut has taken responsibility for Woodside’s international portfolio, and Della Martina has picked up responsibility for the Australian oil business.
Della Martina will remain in charge of the company’s flagship $14.9 billion Pluto LNG project, which is currently experiencing serious cost blowouts and construction delays.
His title has been changed to executive vice-president, Australian business.
Soine, an American, made $884,000 last year and was based in Houston, but his responsibilities are now being managed from Woodside headquarters in Perth.
Coleman is currently focusing on development strategies for the Browse gas fields off WA’s Kimberley coast, with the James Price Point site facing significant community opposition.
He is also attempting to re-open negotiations with the East Timor government to get development of the stagnant Sunrise project back on the agenda.