By OBINNA EZUGWU

The continued fall in the global oil price caused in part by the Coronavirus pandemic, has taken its toll on the books of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc (“Seplat” or the “Company”), a leading Nigerian independent energy company listed on both the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange, as revenue dropped significantly in its unaudited results for the nine months ended 30 September 2020. But the company, regardless, showed some positives.

According to the result filed in the company’s website at the weekend and signed by Company Secretary, Mr. Emeka Onwuka, revenue dropped to US$388 million from US$495 in the corresponding period of 2019 due to lower oil prices.

Net debt stood steady at US$480 million with most maturities after 2021, while provision reversed operating profit of US$100 million to operating loss of US$79 million and NPDC receivables further reduced to US$152 million.

The company, however, maintained strong cash balance of US$213 million after US$100 million Revolving Credit Facility (RCF) repayment, US$29 million 2019 final dividend, and US$109 million Capital Expenditure (capex).
The company also reported IAS 36 COVID-19 impact assessment and IFRS 9 non-cash impairment provision of US$180 million.

Operational highlights

· Working-interest production within guidance at 50,653 boepd, despite market volatility
· Liquids production of 33,327 bopd, gas production of 100 MMscfd
· Eland OML40/Ubima assets produced 9,151 bopd, 27.5% of Group oil volumes, integration progressing well
·TFP reconciliation losses reduced to 8.6%
· Amukpe-Escravos Pipeline now expected operational in H2 2021
·Low unit cost of production at US$8.73/boe, with cost-cutting initiatives ongoing, particularly at OML40/Ubima
· ANOH project remains on track for Q4 2021 first gas, completion of financing imminent

Interim dividend declared

Interim dividend of US$0.05 per share (2019: US$0.05) in line with Seplat’s normal dividend distribution timetable

Outlook for 2020

· Full-year production guidance narrowed to 48-52 kboepd, subject to market conditions
· Oil hedging: 1.5MMbbl at US$30/bbl and 0.5MMbbl at US$35/bbl in Q4 2020
· Full-year capex expected to be around US$120 million (US$109 million already invested)

Commenting on the result, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Roger Brown noted: “Seplat’s third-quarter performance has again demonstrated the resilience of our business in challenging times and in addition to voluntarily reducing our debt leverage by US$100 million, we are maintaining our commitment to shareholders by declaring an interim dividend of US$0.05 per share, as we have in previous years. The business continues to operate effectively despite the restraints of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent unrest in Nigeria.

“After the tragic incident on OML40 in July, we have in consultation with our government partner NPDC and the regulatory authorities in Nigeria, conducted three separate and comprehensive investigations that have led to the implementation of new and strengthened safety procedures at the joint venture. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the affected families and friends.

“We continue to hedge our oil business against further price volatility and are pursuing further cost-cutting initiatives to ensure that we will remain profitable even at lower prices experienced earlier in the year.

“We have strengthened our oversight with the appointment of two independent directors, Arunma Oteh and Xavier Rolet, who bring considerable local and international business and governance expertise to the Board.

“I have taken over the leadership of Seplat at a challenging time for our industry, but am confident that our actions to increase operational efficiencies, further reduce costs and continue our expansion into midstream gas processing to reduce carbon emissions by displacing inefficient and expensive diesel generated electricity, will ensure that Seplat remains at the forefront of Nigeria’s exciting energy transition and provide sustainable energy for a young and rapidly growing population.”

Meanwhile, the company said payment of $29,422,228.05 total interim dividend will be made to shareholders whose names appear in the Register of Members as at the close of business on 13th November 2020.”

“Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc (“Seplat” or the “Company”), a leading Nigerian independent energy company listed on both the Nigerian Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange, today announces an interim dividend at a rate of US$0.05 (United States Five Cents) per Ordinary Share (subject to appropriate WHT) to be paid to SEPLAT’s shareholders whose names appear in the Register of Members as at the close of business on 13th November 2020,” Onwuka said in a notification to the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Friday.

The company said the Interim dividend of US$0.05 per share will be paid for all the outstanding 588,444,561 ordinary shares of the company owned by the shareholders of the leading energy company, and this gives a total interim dividend of $29,422,228.05, to be distributed to the shareholders of the company.
The Interim Dividend of US$0.05 (United States Five Cents) per Ordinary Share of N0.50k each (subject to appropriate withholding tax) will be paid to shareholders whose names appear in the Register of Members as at the close of business on 13th November, 2020.
To enable SEPLAT’s Registrar, Datamax Registrars Limited, prepare for the payment of the interim dividend, the Register of Shareholders will be closed on 16th November 2020.

On the London Stock Exchange, the Associated Record Date will be 13th November, 2020, and the Ex-Dividend date will be 12th November, 2020.

The exchange rate for the naira or pounds sterling amounts payable will be determined by reference to the relevant exchange rates applicable to the US dollar on 12th November, 2020, and will be communicated by the Company on 13th November, 2020.
On or around 7th December, 2020, the interim dividend will be paid electronically to shareholders whose names appear on the Register of Members as at 13th November 2020, and who have completed the e-dividend registration and mandated the Registrar to pay their interim dividend directly into their Bank accounts.

Shareholders with dividend warrants and share certificates that have remained unclaimed or are yet to be presented for payment or returned for validation are advised to complete the e-dividend registration or contact the Registrar.