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Baron Oil CEO Rudolph Berends died January 2 after leading the Latin American focused explorer for two years.

His cause of death has not been disclosed.

Berends, 66, was a former explorationist with Royal Dutch Shell and served as chief executive and president at various public and private companies.

“Our thoughts are with the family of Mr. Berends at this difficult time,” UK-based Baron Oil said.

Non-executive director Bill Conlon will take over as executive director while Baron searches for a new CEO.

Last month, Baron Oil acquired a 100 percent ownership interest in offshore Peru block XXI after it won approval to enter the drilling phase at the site in October.

The company will drill two exploration wells down to an anticipated total depth of 6,500 feet at the block during the second half of 2015.

Baron, along with UK-based Union Oil and Gas Group Corporation, also won approval from state owned Perupetro to convert the third work phase of its seismic obligation for offshore block Z-34 into a drilling obligation.

Block Z-34 has estimated prospective resources of 2.02 billion barrels of oil with a mean potential net present value of $2.6 billion.

Berends called the company’s work at block Z-34 a “major breakthrough” for the company.