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Penn West shareholders approve name change to Obsidian Energy

A renamed Penn West Petroleum plans to pursue modest growth over the next three years with spending budgets tightly tied to the price of oil and gas.

Shareholders voted 92 per cent in favour of a resolution Monday to change Penn West's name to Obsidian Energy.

Dave French, CEO of the company since October, says the company chose the name because obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass that can be "sharpened and honed."

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Over the past four years, Penn West has survived high debt levels and an accounting scandal that resulted in class-action lawsuits by investors that were settled last year.

Asset sales allowed it to reduce its net debt to $384-million as of March 31 this year compared with almost $3-billion at the end of 2013, while sharpening its focus to four key production areas from more than 30.

It also reduced its employee count to about 300 from 1,400 in the same time period and cut production to about 28,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from 135,000.

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