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December 29, 2008

Appointment brings oil company to Maine

William H. Hastings, a Falmouth resident and veteran oilman, is the new president and CEO of Magellan Petroleum Corp. Hastings told Mainebiz that the company will move its corporate headquarters from Hartford, Conn., to Portland, attracted by the city’s quality of life.

“The thought here is that we can attract energy people to Portland fairly easily,” he said. “The energy business has become global and people spend a lot of time on airplanes and communicating through automated systems, so it’s much more practical to have offices in other locations beyond traditional spots, beyond Houston for instance. So we’re hoping the lifestyle here and the ability to build a business within the energy sector can be combined.”

Hastings, 53, has 27 years experience developing oil and natural gas reserves and most recently served as president of Falmouth-based energy investment company Nova Atlantic Group LLC, according to a company statement. Magellan is traded on the Nasdaq and owns oil and gas fields in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Hastings will take the top spot at Magellan as the company expands its exploration in Asia, Australia and the United Kingdom, the release said. “It’s going to be very challenging,” Hastings told Mainebiz.

Hastings’ appointment follows the resignation of former Magellan president and CEO Daniel J. Samela, who will continue to serve as the company’s chief financial officer, according to the release. Hastings also was recommended for election to the board of directors of Magellan Petroleum Australia, a subsidiary the company acquired a 100% interest in two years ago. The parent company produces about 1.5 million barrels annually and has market capitalization of $25 million.

Hastings said Magellan would move its headquarters to Portland in the second quarter of 2009. Few people would staff the office at the outset, but over time he hopes to bring more employees to Portland, Hastings said. Hastings previously spent 26 years working for Marathon Oil, an international energy company based in Houston, Texas. As president of Nova Atlantic, he developed natural gas fields overlooked by major oil companies using methanol and small-scale liquefied natural gas technologies, according to the company’s website.


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