CALGARY — Shareholders of natural gas explorer Canadian Superior Energy Inc. voted to shed another vestige of the company’s troubled past with a new name — Sonde Resources Corp.
A sonde refers to a piece of equipment used in the oil and gas industry to evaluate resources, Canadian Superior chairman Marvin Chronister said in an interview after the shareholder meeting.
“This is one of those names when you look at it you don’t fall in love with it immediately. But you look at what the meaning is and it grows on you,” he said.
Canadian Superior’s break with the past follows a messy showdown with a major shareholder, a quarrel with a joint-venture partner over a natural gas field off Trinidad and Tobago and a change of management and board of directors.
The Calgary-based company (TSX:SNG) also filed for court protection from creditors in March 2009, emerging from the restructuring process in September.
In addition to approving the name change Thursday, shareholders also voted overwhelmingly to approve a one-for-five share consolidation and a new shareholder rights plan.
Canadian Superior’s governance was among many issues activist shareholder Palo Alto Investors flagged when it sought to replace the board last year.
It’s up to the company to earn back the confidence of investors, who may still be a bit skeptical that the firm is heading in the right direction, Chronister said.
“If people would give us an honest, fair look I think that they’d realize that we are committed to shareholder value and I think we’ve turned things around,” he said.
A proposed class action lawsuit was filed last month against Canadian Superior Energy, Inc., Challenger Energy Corp. and certain current and former executive and directors.
The case brought by Siskinds LLP and May Jensen Shawa Solomon LLP is in connection with disclosures alleged to have been made in relation to Canadian Superior’s gas exploration project offshore Trinidad and its stock option practices.
The company is also on the hunt for a new chief executive.
“I think we’re all hoping to bring that to a conclusion sometime soon,” Chronister said, adding it’s unclear when an announcement could be made.
Mike Coolen, who used to hold that title, was forced out by the company’s board of directors last April along with executive chairman Greg Noval.
Earlier Thursday, Canadian Superior said its production increased to 3,127 barrels of oil equivalent per day for the week ending May 19, up from its first-quarter average of 2,779 boe/d.
The production growth was underpinned by a discovery in the Eaglesham Wabamun trend in Alberta, which came online in May producing 2.4 million cubic feet per day of natural gas and 100 barrels per day of oil.
Canadian Superior has nearly 162,000 gross hectares in Western Canada, and expects to see growth continue in 2010 as work begins on wells that had been suspended.
Internationally, Canadian Superior’s main asset is a 25 per cent stake in a natural gas field off Trinidad and Tobago, with U.K. natural gas giant BG Group controlling the rest.
The company is also developing a liquefied natural gas project in New Jersey as well as oil and natural gas holdings in North Africa.