Gordon McIntosh out as fledgling Crown oil corporation severs ties with highly paid consultant

Newfoundland and Labrador’s newly formed oil corporation has ended a lucrative and controversial consulting contract with Gordon McIntosh, CBC News has learned.

The Crown agency, which was recently separated from Nalcor Energy, confirmed in a written statement that McIntosh’s company, Aberdeen International Associates, will end its work for OilCo on Friday.

“Gordon is in the process of [concluding] his contract with us,” an OilCo spokesperson wrote.

The statement says the decision was made as part of the 2020 budget process.

“In light of the transition into a new company and the experience with one year of activity under Advance 2030 mandate, we’ve taken steps to amend, reduce, or terminate some of OilCo’s contracts in response to current and future business needs.”

CBC has asked for a list of other contracts affected by the review, and whether OilCo had to pay any penalties to McIntosh because of the early termination of the contract.

Meanwhile, the work assigned to AIA to help advance the province’s oil and gas growth strategy known as Advance 2030 will either be carried on by OilCo staff or “absorbed by government,” says OilCo.

A controversial contract

McIntosh is a former deputy minister with the Department of Natural Resources, and played a role in developing Advance 2030, which was unveiled more than two years ago with the goal of building the oil and gas sector.

McIntosh became a source of controversy last year after it was learned his company, based in Scotland, was awarded a $337,000 consulting contract without competition. McIntosh earned less than $200,000 as deputy minister.

It was later learned that the decision to hire AIA was made after a Nalcor executive and a top aide to Premier Dwight Ball “mutually agreed” that McIntosh was the best candidate to help OilCo make the transition into a standalone company.

Opposition MHAs claimed the sole source contract was a violation of conflict of interest rules, but Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady defended the oil company’s decision, saying Nalcor “does budget its own consultation … and this is within that budget.”

CBC requested an interview with OilCo boss Jim Keating to determine whether the corporation received good value for its investment of public money, but a spokesperson said, “We don’t have anything further to add.”

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