Former U-T owner sees future in oil

Manchester says he's a passive investor in Chilean company

Former Union-Tribune owner Douglas Manchester reported last month that he purchased 16.3 percent of GeoPark Limited, a Santiago, Chile–based oil-and-gas exploration and production company.

Manchester's purchase of 9.7 million shares for around $30 million makes his Manchester Financial Group the second-largest institutional holder of the stock (another investment firm holds a bit under 9.7 million shares). Manchester says he is a passive investor.

The company lost $12 million in its most recent quarter but reported that oil and gas production from the same quarter of the previous year had gone up by 15 percent. The stock hit almost $5 in the past 52 weeks, dropped to $1.90 as oil prices plunged, but has been trading at $3.19 of late.

This month, Chile's environmental regulation organization said it is investigating the company for several alleged violations, including fracking without the necessary permits. Chile's governmental regulator also accuses the company of having faulty systems for avoiding soil erosion and managing spills of hazardous materials.

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