Providence Resources' technical director John O'Sullivan - the company's de-facto second in command to CEO Tony O'Reilly Jr - has left the company as part of a major downsizing of its operations and management structure.
Following up on its June announcement that it would likely be seeking "a significant reduction" in its staff, the Irish oil and gas exploration company said it plans to cut its overall annual cost base by 65% to $1.9m (€1.7m) through a major downsizing.
This will include the cutting of all technical and support staff, a slashing in the size of the company's board of directors, the cessation of the use of various services providers and advisors and the relocation of its Dublin headquarters to a smaller serviced office facility.
Providence said that the successful sale of major stakes in most of its licences - and the resulting transfer of operatorship of its key assets - has resulted in a "substantially reduced technical role" for the company.
That has led to the immediate exit of Mr O'Sullivan and the decision of non-executive directors Philip O'Quigley, Lex Gamble and James McCarthy to leave the board on a phased basis. Mr O'Quigley - who also heads up Irish explorer Falcon Oil and Gas - will not seek re-election to the board at next year's AGM.
Mr Gamble will leave the board at the end of this year and Mr McCarthy will not seek re-election at Providence's 2019 AGM, which takes place next month.
Limited scope for more offshore Irish licences and its inability to pursue international expansion meant that Providence's technical staff were hugely under-utilised.
Providence's shares tumbled by well over 30% on the latest news; investor reaction exacerbated by the company yet again extending the deadline - to next Monday - for a $9m loan payment from its Chinese partners to fund development work at its flagship Barryroe field off the Cork coast.
Government approval for a site survey at Barryroe is also still pending and Providence said carrying out the survey "in the immediate term" is essential if it is to meet its end-of-year schedule for the commencement of a planned multi-well drilling programme at Barryroe.