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Athabasca's retiring president and CEO Sveinung Svarte. Image courtesy of Athabasca Oil/Youtube.

Calgary-based Athabasca Oil said Monday its president and CEO Sveinung Svarte will retire and that the company will boost its capital expenditure by $128 million this year to expand its domestic shale development.

Svarte’s retirement will be effective on September 30 but he will stay on as vice chairman of the board.

The company’s current chairman of the board Tom Buchanan will take the helm as president and CEO. Buchanan will remain chairman of the board.

Buchanan has over 30 years of experience in the oil and natural gas sector, most recently as CEO of
Calgary-based upstream Spyglass Resources.

In 1993, he founded Canada-based Founders Energy, the predecessor to Calgary-based energy trust Provident Energy Trust. He served as CEO of Provident until 2010.

“I am very excited to lead the Company through its next stage of growth,” Buchanan said.

Athabasca also said it will raise its capital expenditure by $128 million to $611.81 million for the remainder of the year.

The company will invest a majority of the funds, about $118 million, into the development of the Duvernay shale play.

Duvernay is in the Kaybob Region located in western central Alberta.

Athabasca holds 200,000 net acres of high-graded lands at the play with greater than 65 feet of shale pay in the heart of the fairway.

Athabasca will operate four rigs in Duvernay this winter to accelerate production.

The company said it has sufficient funds in place to follow its full field development plan for Duvernay including ramping up to six rigs in the near future.

Athabasca expects Duvernay to be self funding within the next three to four years.

The company has kept its production guidance for the second half of 2014 between 6,000 and 6,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day.