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Seplat to drill 2 gas wells as cash reserves rise to $343m

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Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, a leading Nigerian independent energy entity listed on both the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and London Stock Exchange (LSE), has announced its cash reserves increased to about $343 million despite lower revenues, in the six months ended 30 June 2020. The Company’s full-year capex of US$120 million (US$86 million already invested) would also include two gas wells and related infrastructure.

Revenue for the period stood at $234 million amid lower oil prices and demand. Commenting on the results, which were released to the NSE and LSE on Wednesday, the Chief Executive Officer, Seplat, Austin Avuru, said: “Seplat has delivered a robust performance despite the unprecedented crisis we have experienced since March. Our continued resilience is possible as a result of our financial strength, our careful management of risk and our prudent approach to capital allocation. Unlike many in our industry, we were able to protect our 2019 dividend and increase our capital investment to ensure continued growth.”

Seplat’s oil hedging strategy and gas revenues, according to Avuru, have continued to protect the business from price volatility, with the Company achieving substantial cost reductions from its suppliers while managing own costs even more carefully in this challenging period.

“Thanks to the excellent relationships we have with our Government partners and supply chain, our Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) receivables have fallen and we are managing our payments equitably. The cash position is also robust because our careful management of debt has ensured that the majority of obligations mature in 2022 and 2023. We are operating within our covenants on all our lines of debt,” the Seplat CEO said.

Speaking on efforts at ameliorating the impacts of coronavirus, the outgoing CEO said: “As part of our commitment to our host communities, we have provided medical and food assistance where needed and will continue to do whatever we can to support those upon whom we depend for our business. “This is my final set of results as Chief Executive of the Company I helped to found ten years ago. I thank all my staff, past and present, for working to make Seplat a major force in Nigerian energy production. I am handing over a robust and successful company to Roger Brown, the incoming CEO, in the confidence that he and everyone at Seplat will make its second decade even more successful than its first.”

Speaking on the outlook for the company, Avuru said, “We maintain our previous guidance of 47,000 to 57,000 boepd and remain confident of market recovery in the coming months. The business is hedged against low oil prices using put options and a significant proportion of our revenues now come from gas, which offers additional protection from oil price volatility.