Santos Appoints Keith Spence as Next Chairman

By Robb M. Stewart Features Dow Jones Newswires

MELBOURNE, Australia--Santos Ltd. (STO.AU) has appointed oil-and-gas veteran Keith Spence to take over from Peter Coates as chairman when he retires early next year.

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Mr. Spence will join the Australian energy company's board at the start of next year and take over as chairman in February, Santos said Monday. It comes after Mr. Coates said in May he planned to step down after recruiting a successor.

Mr. Spence brings more than 30 years of industry experience, having previously held senior positions including chief operating officer at Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL.AU) and prior to that almost two decades at Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA).

He is currently chairman of mineral sands producer Base Resources Ltd. and a director at gold and base-metals miner Independence Group NL (IGO.AU). Papua New Guinea-based Oil Search Ltd. (OSH.AU) on Monday said Mr. Spence had resigned as a nonexecutive director.

Mr. Coates said board renewal and finding a successor were his final tasks before leaving the company, following the appointment of company leadership including bring on Kevin Gallagher as managing director and chief executive in early 2016.

Santos has tied its future to the GLNG liquefied natural gas operation on Australia's east coast that counts Total SA (TOT) among its partners, the Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM)-led PNG LNG operation in Papua New Guinea, and projects in northern Australia, Western Australia, and the Cooper Basin straddling South Australia and Queensland states.

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Write to Robb M. Stewart at robb.stewart@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 22, 2017 19:12 ET (23:12 GMT)