High Court Appoints Examiner to Barryroe Offshore Energy Following Larry Goodman’s Bid for Green Energy Transition
The High Court has appointed an examiner to Barryroe Offshore Energy (BOE) after hearing that Larry Goodman, a prominent beef tycoon, could inject significant capital to facilitate a shift from fossil fuel exploration to green energy. The court received no opposition to the examinership petition presented on Monday by Vevan Unlimited, a company owned by Mr. Goodman, which holds a 20% stake in BOE. The shareholder vote, previously scheduled for July 24, was cancelled when Mr. Goodman sought court protection for BOE against its creditors.
During the court proceedings, it was revealed that BOE’s operations are currently “negligible to non-existent” due to Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan’s refusal to grant a permit for its key Barryroe oil project located 50km off the coast of Cork. This refusal has severely impacted the company’s activities.
Representing Vevan, Lyndon MacCann SC expressed confidence that the company would succeed in challenging the minister’s refusal through a judicial review. However, he acknowledged that it is uncertain whether the court would compel the minister to accept BOE’s license application, even if the refusal is overturned. Despite BOE’s technical insolvency, MacCann stated that with appropriate funding, the company’s operations can be “resuscitated.” Vevan, as part of a group of companies with substantial financial resources, sees potential in the green energy sector and is prepared to commit its resources to BOE’s future activities. MacCann also highlighted that BOE’s management possesses the necessary skillset to explore natural resources for energy use, which can be effectively applied to the green energy sector.
MacCann, along with Declan Murphy BL, pointed to a report prepared by independent expert Damien Murran, head of Teneo Ireland’s corporate restructuring practice, which suggests that BOE has a reasonable chance of survival if a scheme of arrangement is implemented. In response, barrister Alison Keirse, representing BOE, stated that her client remained neutral on the application. On the other hand, Arthur Cunningham BL, representing the Revenue Commissioners who are owed €20,000, expressed neutrality on the condition that certain terms regarding tax filings were attached to the orders.
Mr. Justice Michael Quinn noted the unusual nature of the application, as it originated from a shareholder rather than the company itself. He acknowledged that BOE’s directors had previously resolved to place the company into liquidation, but there is no evidence to suggest that immediate action is being pursued by creditors. Satisfied that the statutory conditions were met, Justice Quinn appointed Kieran Wallace, the managing director of Interpath Advisory in Ireland, as the examiner. It is worth noting that Barryroe, BOE’s final exploration hope, was discovered over a decade ago and is estimated to hold over 300 million barrels of oil, along with gas resources.
In conclusion, the appointment of an examiner to BOE marks a significant development in the company’s journey towards a transition to green energy. With the support of Larry Goodman’s Vevan Unlimited and its substantial financial resources, there is hope that BOE’s operations can be revived and redirected towards the promising green energy sector. The court’s decision to appoint an examiner reflects the belief that BOE has a reasonable chance of survival if a suitable scheme of arrangement is put in place. As the examination process unfolds, the future of BOE and its potential contribution to the green energy landscape will be closely watched by industry observers and stakeholders alike.