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Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, a leading Nigerian independent oil and gas company listed on both the Nigerian Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange, will remain very profitable even at lower oil prices given its low production costs, and strong investments in gas.

The Chief Executive Officer of the company, Austin Avuru, said this to the investment community, and analysts upon the release of Seplat’s audited results for the financial year ended 31 December 2019.

Avuru said: “As we enter a challenging phase for the global economy, Seplat will benefit from being a resilient company built on the solid foundations of prudent financial management, and the careful mitigation of risk.   We have previously been tested by crisis. We successfully navigated the twin challenges of the 2014/2015 oil price shock, which was immediately followed by the 16-month Trans Forcados shut-in, which drastically reduced our liquids production. Thanks to our flexibility in managing cash flows, we emerged a stronger and better-funded company, ready to take advantage of new opportunities.  Compared to those difficult periods, today’s Seplat has more cash on its balance sheet, and is even more robust, and diversified thanks to our continuing investments in gas, with its long-term contracts, and independence from oil price volatility. We are a low-cost producer, and will continue to manage our finances prudently.” 

He stated further that, “With the recent addition of Eland and the availability of new pipelines, our oil business is broadening, and derisking its production fields, and routes to market to assure even greater security of revenues in the future. In the coming year we will focus our investment only on the highest-returning projects, whilst carefully balancing our future needs with prevailing market realities. The challenges before us may be significant, but we are confident that the resilience and discipline of our business will help us consolidate our position as Nigeria’s leading independent oil and gas producer.”

Seplat recorded revenue of US$698 million with total capital expenditure of US$125 million, US$114 million on oil and gas assets.

Cash flow from operations stood at US$338 million; cash at bank US$333 million and Final dividend maintained at US$0.05 per share. 

OUTLOOK FOR 2020

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first quarter of 2020, as well as pressure on oil prices in March has placed a premium on solid financial management that focuses upon low-cost production, robust cash management, a strong balance sheet, and focused investment in high-return projects for sustainable future growth.   The business is hedged against low oil prices and a significant proportion of the company’s revenues now come from gas, which offers further protection from oil price volatility.

Seplat has low production costs and can remain profitable even at lower oil prices. It has significant cash resources available and will manage its finances prudently in 2020, expecting to invest just US$100 million of capital expenditure (US$50 million spent in Q1 2020), with a target of three new wells across its portfolio. It will also continue to focus on its investments in gas and the completion of the ANOH project remains a major priority. 

At present, Seplat is targeting 2020 production of between 47-57 kboepd, including Eland production of 6-10 kbopd, subject to continuous evacuation being possible.  The indigenous oil company has been tested in previous adverse conditions and it is confident that the stronger and more diverse business it operates will be even more resilient against these unprecedented market events. The integration of Eland Oil & Gas PLC will position the Group strongly when the market recovers and it is pleased to report that on 17 March 2020, OML 40 produced a record 17 kbopd as recorded by its LACT.

Seplat remains optimistic about its long-term growth and success.

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