Transformed Penn West proposes name change

CALGARY — Penn West Petroleum Ltd. (TSX:PWT) wants to change its name to Obsidian Energy Ltd. after surviving an accounting scandal, debt crisis and commodity price crash over the past three years.

David French, who took over as CEO of the Calgary oil and gas company in October, says shareholders will be asked to approve the change because the company no longer resembles the “old Penn West.”

In July 2014, Penn West announced that hundreds of millions of dollars in expenses had been improperly classified, forcing it to restate financial reports for 2012, 2013 and the first quarter of 2014.

The scandal resulted in class-action lawsuits by investors which were settled last year.

Meanwhile, the company embarked on a series of asset sales that allowed it to reduce net debt from almost $3 billion at the end of 2013 to $384 million as of March 31 this year.

Penn West is now a much smaller company with forecast production of 28,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day this year, down from 135,000 boepd in 2013. It also listed 407 employees at the end of 2016 versus 1,415 three years earlier.

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