PNG oil and gas explorer and developer Horizon Oil has decided to terminate the employment of CEO Michael Sheridan while it investigates allegations the company made a payment to a senior Government official to acquire an interest in Petroleum Retention Licence (PRL) 21 in 2011.

Mr Sheridan was originally suspended on February 12, 2020, when the company elected to further investigate claims related to the PRL-21 deal.

Horizon told shareholders that it was untenable for Mr Sheridan to retain the position of CEO in the current circumstances. Mr Sheridan has also resigned as a director of the company.

Mr Sheridan had been with the company for 17 years.

Horizon said it was in the best interests of the company for Chris Hodge to continue in the role of CEO and managing director.

Horizon is the operator of PRL-21, where it holds a 30.15% interest. Located in the Western Province, PRL-21 contains the Elevala and Ketu gas and condensate fields where Horizon has been working for a number of years on a range of development scenarios.

The condensate rich gas resources in the Elevala and Ketu fields lie to the south of ExxonMobil and Oil Search’s P’nyang gas field which is being targeted to provide the threshold volumes for expansion train 3 of the PNG LNG scheme. The planned pipeline route from P’nyang to the PNG LNG facilities passes within 20 kilometres of the Ketu field