The carve-up of collapsed explorer Empire Oil & Gas has begun as creditor Mineral Resources takes control of the company’s assets.

Perth-based Empire (ASX:EGO) defaulted on a $15 million loan to Mineral Resources in September, which sent it into administration.

Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) today told investors it had picked up assets including its “Red Gully” processing plant 150km north of Perth and all of Empire’s petroleum exploration areas.

“Consistent with Mineral Resources’ strategy of acquiring and operating gas assets to provide lower and more certain fuel costs over the long term for its business, Mineral Resources will immediately commence working with existing EGO contractors to begin developing the acquired assets to their potential.”, Mineral Resources reported.

The first step will be to get the wells back online to re-start the Red Gully facility and meet supply commitments.

Empire has now been put into liquidation.

Empire arranged the loan with Mineral Resources in August last year and gave Mineral Resources first ranking as creditor over assets including a Red Gully exploration permit, two production licences, the rights to present and future petroleum extraction and buildings, plant and machinery on the titles.

It went into voluntary administration in September. A week later new CEO Angus Walker resigned, saying it was no longer the role he’d been hired for.

Mr Walker was hired in July to help the company raise capital for new exploration projects in the Perth Basin.

Empire said Mr Walker told the company that “with the recent change in circumstances of the company, the position no longer represented the role for which he believed he was to fulfil when he was hired”.