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A worker on an Athabasca Oil Corp. oil rig.

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Athabasca Oil Corp.'s chief financial officer is leaving the cash-pinched company, although the company has a new executive lined up to fill his seat.

Brent Heagy is leaving Athabasca Oil to serve as Inter Pipeline Ltd.'s CFO and will be replaced in the role by Kim Anderson. Mr. Heagy will stay with Athabasca until the middle of next month to "ensure a smooth transition of his responsibilities," the company said in a statement Wednesday.

The changes come at a crucial time for Athabasca Oil. It is in a financial pinch right now as it waits for regulatory clearance that would allow the company to rake in $1.3-billion by selling its stake in the Dover oil sands operation to its Chinese partner. It is also searching for joint venture partners for its properties in the Duvernay play.

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Given these two factors, Mr. Heagy's departure makes some in the market nervous. Menno Hulshof, an analyst at TD Securities, said "it is hard not to view this as negative." His reservations came with a caveat, however, which he underlined in his research note.

"It's not all bad, with a suitable replacement simultaneously announced and presumably endorsed both personally and professionally by Mr. Heagy," Mr. Hulshof wrote. Mr. Heagy's resignation would have been far more worrisome if Athabasca did not have a new executive lined up, he added.

Athabasca Oil noted Mr. Heagy and Ms. Anderson have worked together before. She served as CFO at Kanata Energy Group Ltd., a private, mid-stream infrastructure and service company. Ms. Anderson also worked at Provident Energy Ltd., including a stint as vice-president, finance and investor relations. In addition, her resume includes investment banking.

Mr. Heagy, who has been at Athabasca Oil for less than one year, on Mar. 1 will replace Inter Pipeline's Bill van Yzerloo, whose planned retirement was announced in 2013. The TD analyst noted Mr. Heagy's new job is "a legitimate move which arguably takes him back to what he knows best."

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