Seplat Eyes More Asset Acquisitions, Growth

Austin Avuru
Austin Avuru

Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, an indigenous oil and gas firm says it will acquire more assets in the exploration and production space as well ensure organic growth.

Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr. Austin Avuru revealed this at the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) January Technical/Business Meeting on Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestments in E&P Business held in Lagos on Wednesday, said the development is sequel to the completion of its Eland Oil and Gas Plc’s acquisition deal on December 17, 2019.

He explained that one of Seplat’s key mandate is to leverage opportunities in the oil and gas industry through acquisition of more oil and gas assets.

According to Avuru : “We are delighted to successfully complete the acquisition of Eland, which further enhances Seplat’s footprint in Nigeria and provides opportunities for enhanced scale, diversification and growth. We welcome our new colleagues and Nigerian partners as we look forward to working together in this exciting phase of our development.”

Addressing stakeholders at the NAPE meeting, he said Seplat had positioned itself as an early mover through the acquisition of a 45% operated interest in OMLs 4, 38 and 41 from Shell, Total and Agip in 2010; thus, becoming the first Nigerian independent to acquire a package of oil and gas blocks directly from the Major International Oil Companies (IOCs) as part of a disposal process.

Following this landmark deal in 2010, Seplat further grew its portfolio through the acquisition of a 40% interest in the OPL 283 marginal field area from Pillar Oil. In 2015 acquired further interests in OML 53 and OML 55 from Chevron Nigeria Limited.

Seplat grew production at OMLs 4, 38 & 41 from 14,000bopd as at acquisition to a peak rate of over 84,000bopd.

Avuru explained: “The Company has demonstrated its ability to work its assets and produce its reserves despite external negative factors such as downtime and losses.

“Seplat also began to invest in its gas business in 2010 in response to the Nigerian Government’s initiatives to improve the debilitating impact of poor power generation and supply in the country by opening the Domestic Supply Obligation pricing to market forces.

“We are strategically positioned to access Nigeria’s main demand centers with current well stock delivering around 300MMscfd (Gross).”

Meanwhile the Guest Speaker at the meeting, Mr. Mascot Ogunjemiyo, who highlighted the various merger and acquisition cases in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, said mergers, acquisitions and divestments in the industry were capable of promoting efficiency and further drive growth.

Again, Seplat wins PETAN, Frontier, CAMCAN awards


Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc one of the, leading Nigerian independent oil and gas company listed both on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange, recently won the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria’s (PETAN) 2019 Local Content Operator Award, the Frontier Energy Independent Player in Africa (Leopard) Award and the Capital Market Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CAMCAN) Most Profitable Company in Oil/Gas on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) Award for the year.

The PETAN award was presented to the Company at the PETAN Oil Industry Achievement Award dinner held in Lagos. The Award Ceremony had in attendance leading Nigerian oil services companies, international oil companies (IOCs) and their senior executives, policy makers in government and top political leaders, the media, amongst others.

The Operations Director, Seplat Petroleum, Mr. Effiong Okon, who received the award on behalf of the Company, commended the organisers for the recognition and pledged the Company’s strict adherence to global best practices and effective stakeholder engagement.

Also, at the Geological Society in London, Frontier Energy presented Seplat with the “Leopard” Award as the Independent Player in Africa of the Year, which is part of the Big Five Board Awards 2019 ceremony.  As part of the rationale for the award, Frontier Energy noted that 2019 has been a year demonstrating the strength of the company, led by top-class CEO, Mr. Austin Avuru.

Frontier Energy noted that in a climate of fluctuating prices, Seplat has been able to improve the quality of its balance sheet, make new acquisitions and the ongoing development of the Assa North and Ohaji South (ANOH) gas field is a highlight.  Other finalists included Eland Oil & Gas, Lekoil, Far Limited, Chariot Oil & Gas and Africa Energy Corporation. Awarded since 1997 and with over 100 recipients to date, the Big Five Board Awards honour excellence in Africa’s oil and gas game.

In the same vein, the CAMCAN Nigerian Capital Market Performance Awards was aimed at recognising companies that recorded significant feats on the platform of the Nigerian stock Exchange for 2018 was also bestowed on Seplat.

The company also won the Best Indigenous Exhibitor Award at the just concluded 37th Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE)’s Annual International Conference and Exhibition held in Lagos.

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SEPLAT wins five awards at PEARL, NAPE

Austin Avuru
Austin Avuru

Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, leading Nigerian independent oil and gas company listed both on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange, emerged the overall winner of the 2019 Pearl Awards, clinching four awards, which is designed to celebrate excellence and its leadership in the Nigerian capital market.

The company also won the Best Indigenous Exhibitor award at the just concluded 37th Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE)’s Annual International Conference and Exhibition held in Lagos.

At the PEARL Awards which was attended by regulators, leaders and key stakeholders in the capital market, Seplat achieved the feat of emerging the “PEARL” back-to-back (2018 and 2019), which was a notable feat.

The award was presented to the Seplat’s management by the Chairman of the Board of the Securities and Exchange Commission, (SEC), Mr. Olufemi Lijadu, and Ms Mary Uduk, the Acting Director-General of SEC, supported by Dr Farouk Umar, Chairman of the PEARL Awards Board.

Apart from winning the overall PEARL Awards for 2019, SEPLAT also clinched three (3) other awards: Sectoral Awards for the Oil and Gas Segment, Highest Net Ratio Award; and its Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Austin avuru emerging as the CEO of the Year.

Dr. Umar, the Chairman of the Board of Pearl Awards, in his address, pointed out that the awards was an avenue for encouraging development of the capital market, and praised the Federal Government for supporting the market.

The President of Pearl Awards, Mr. Tayo Orekoya, speaking on the theme of the 2019 edition: “Celebrating Sustainable Leadership & Resilience” said the event was recognising leaders who represent beacons of hope for the capital market.

Orekoya said that on the threshold of a quarter of a century celebrations, PEARL awards has recognised and rewarded over 85 quoted Nigerian companies for outstanding operational and stock performance with eighteen (18) emerging as the overall highest awards winners of the stock market at different times.

He said: “The PEARL Awards remains the only awards in Nigeria that rewards outstanding performance of quoted companies in the Nigerian capital market based on verifiable facts and figures.

The Acting Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Ms Uduk commended the PEARL Awards team for its legacy of driving excellence and competitiveness in the capital market.

She assured stakeholders of the continued support of the Apex regulator for efforts towards rewarding hardwork, dedication, ingenuity and excellence in the capital market.

Mr. Lijadu, Chairman of the Board of SEC Nigeria, commended Seplat for its strict adherence to good corporate governance ethos, while thanking PEARL Award for evolving for over two decades and remaining consistent in its drive to support the growth of the capital market.

The management of Seplat thanked the organisers of PEARL Awards and NAPE for the recognition and expressed the company’s commitment to global best practices in the oil and gas sector.

SEPLAT Petroleum Development Company Plc Announces Roger Brown As New CEO.

Roger Browncover

Seplat Petroleum Development Company PLC (“SEPLAT”) has announced that her pioneer Managing Director and later CEO, Mr. Austin Avuru will be retiring in July 2020 after 10 years of leading the company.

In these 10 years, Mr. Avuru led the development of a strong organization, the deployment of agile systems, processes and stakeholder relationships that allowed the organization to grow rapidly from a gross production of 22,700boepd as at December 2010 to peaks of 111,368boepd gross production as at December 2018 through major drilling campaigns and major new Oil and Gas plants development.

The acquisition of 45% of OML 53, post Company’s IPO of 2014, created an opportunity in partnership with NNPC, to spawn a mid-stream subsidiary, ANOH Gas Processing Company Ltd currently progressing what will ultimately be a 300MMscf/d of Gas, 22,500bdp of condensate and 1,200boepd of LPG processing Company. All these could not have been achieved without Mr. Avuru’s leadership skills, personal dedication and hard work, at the head of the Company.

The Board of SEPLAT is grateful to Mr. Avuru for these accomplishments and is looking forward to his continued service at the Board level.

Looking forward, Seplat plans to position itself for a next phase growth ambition which would see the expansion of its footprint in terms of energy business activities, a plan to pursue offshore assets as well as opportunity driven entry into different geographies. The Company believes that such a corporate transition would require a different kind of organizational structure, people skills set and mentality to compete well in the expanded space. In view of this, Seplat will be reviewing its current organizational and systems structure.

To lead the Company in her latest aspirations, the Board has selected Mr. Roger Brown as the successor to Mr. Avuru as CEO, when Mr. Avuru steps down on 31 July 2020. The Board also decided that the CEO designate will lead the restructuring during the Transition period between now and final exit date of Mr. Avuru on 31 July 2020.

Mr. Brown joined SEPLAT in 2013 as the CFO and played a key role in the successful dual listing of the Company in 2014.  Similarly, since joining the Company, he has played significant roles in various asset acquisitions by the Company.

Mr. Brown brings to the CEO role, a deep knowledge of the Company in his 6 years as the CFO and a member of the Board.  He has strong financial, commercial and M&A experience as well as proven people skills which will be an asset as the Company embarks on the next phase of its growth plan.

Prior to joining SEPLAT, Mr. Brown was an advisor to the Company since 2010 while he was the Managing Director and head of EMEA Oil and Gas at Standard Bank Group.  During his time at the bank, he was instrumental in providing advice and deploying capital across the African continent in the Oil & Gas, Power & Infrastructure and the renewable energy sectors.

While we thank Mr. Avuru for a meritorious service, we welcome Mr. Brown and wish him every success in his upcoming new role.


NNPC Commits To Product Sufficiency Nationwide at Yuletide


By Andy Nssien

Respite may soon come the way of commuters at the Ijegun-Egba axis of Lagos State following a move by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to partner with the Lagos State Government, depot owners and petroleum tanker drivers to address infrastructural challenges that have perennially hampered products evacuation from the area.

This was disclosed by the Group Managing Director of the corporation, Mallam Mele Kyari, during separate visits to tank farms at the Ijegun-Egba corridor as well as the Lagos State Government House in Ikeja, Lagos,

He said as an enabler organisation to the Nigerian economy which also guarantees national energy security, the NNPC would continue to partner with stakeholders such as the Lagos Government, to sustain the current seamless supply and distribution of products nationwide, going into the Yuletide period.

“As a responsible corporate citizen, NNPC and its partners in the Downstream have made adequate preparations and our plan is robust and we foresee a very hitch-free Christmas full of products, well into the new year’’, Kyari assured.

While addressing tank farms operators at the Ijegun-Egba area, Kyari lauded their initiative to pull resources together to fix the Ijegun Road leading to the tank farms to ease movement of trucks in the area.

Mallam Kyari said although it was a palliative arrangement, the NNPC and its stakeholders would put heads together to provide a permanent solution to the problems.

Reacting to the GMD’s visit, Governor Babajide Sanwolu expressed his support to NNPC and its stakeholders’ initiative to tackle the infrastructure challenges not only at the Ijegun-Egba, but the entire state, adding that his administration would leave no stone unturned in tackling the challenges.

“This is the first time all the stakeholders are coming together to have a long-term view of the situation. We will do everything that is required to ensure that everything goes well on that entire corridor,” Governor Sanwolu assured.

Also speaking, Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Hon. Abdullahi Mahmud Gaya, expressed the National Assembly’s support to the initiative.

At the palace of the Oba of Lagos, His Royal Majesty Oba Rilwan Akiolu I, called on International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the Country to do more Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities in their areas of operations.

Other stakeholders on the GMD’s entourage were the National President of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Comrade Williams Akporeha and the Chairman, Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) Unit of NUPENG, Comrade Salimon Oladiti.


Total Nigeria to drive growth with solar business

Total Nigeria Plc will optimise the vast potential of its solar business in Nigeria to drive its growth and sustain improved returns to shareholders.

At the annual general meeting yesterday in Lagos, Chairman, Total Nigeria Plc, Stanislas Mittelman, said the company will use solar power to power its 60 stations in order to ensure stability of import, logistics optimisation and maximisation of its solar business.

He said the company has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement with a manufacturing company in Ogun State to provide 999k wp solar hybrid solution.

According to him, with a combined capacity of 1MW and production of more than 1 gigawatt hour of clean electricity, the company recognises the potential of solar, hence its programme of powering its stations which have been equipped with solar to supply electricity.

“We remain a brand of reference and leading energy solutions provider and we are confident that the company will continue to grow and even though the working capital reduced this year, we still remain conscious of our role in the Nigerian economy with the support of our stakeholders and shareholders and we expect to consolidate on our past achievements and deliver value to our shareholders as we are well positioned to overcome the challenges of the business environment in 2019,” Mittelman said.

Shareholders commended the performance of the company while unanimously approving distribution of N4.75 billion or N14 per share as final cash dividend for the 2018 business year. It had earlier paid N1.02 or N3 as interim dividend, bringing total dividend for the 2018 business year to N5.77 billion or N17 per share.

Key extracts of the audited report and accounts for the year ended December 31, 2018 showed that turnover increased from N288 billion in 2017 to N307 billion in 2018. Profit before tax rose to N12.09 billion as against N11.79 billion in 2017. Profit after tax dipped slightly to N7.96 billion in 2018 compared with N8.01 billion in 2017.

Founder, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sunny Nwosu, commended the company for its improved performance.

President, Pragmatic Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), Bisi Bakare noted that while there was room for improvement in the company’s performance, the payment of dividend resonated with the investors friendly policy of the company.

NNPC cautions against product supply disruption

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has warned stakeholders in the downstream oil sector not to do anything that could undermine the seamless supply and distribution of petroleum products that currently prevails across the country.

The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, who made this plea at the launching of Petroleum Products Pipeline Marketing Company (PPPMC) Business Automation with SAP Modules and Web-Based Customer Express in Abuja yesterday said Nigerians must not be subjected to any form of stress in  products supply and distribution.

PPMC is a downstream subsidiary of the NNPC.

Referring to the recent incident that occurred in Calabar Depot which led to the disruption of products loading and the consequent hiccup in products supply in Cross River State for three days before normalcy was restored, Baru appealed to stakeholders, especially the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), and the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) to resolve their differences in the interest of the citizens of this country.

The NNPC, in a statement, quoted Baru as saying:  “We have stability in fuel supply, the citizens should not be punished by unions who are supposed to make life better and comfortable for their members.”

Shell, communities set to resolve dispute over OML 25

Stakeholders, including communities of Oil Mining Licence 25 in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, and Shell Petroleum Development Company have agreed on the procedures for the re-opening of the oil field.

The Memorandum of Understanding, which will be facilitated by the Rivers State Government, will be signed on July 1, 2019, and signify the final resolution of the conflict.

This was the outcome of the meeting on Thursday between the host communities of OML 25, the SPDC, service commanders and officials of the Rivers State Government on the directive of Governor Nyesom Wike.

A representative of the Governor and Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo, directed the Solicitor-General of the state to draft an MoU on the premise of the resolutions reached at the meeting.

Danagogo outlined the four-key resolutions reached during the meeting on the re-opening of OML 25.

He said, “The SPDC should pay the agreed funds into an account. The permanent secretary, community affairs, has been mandated to ensure that the funds are transferred to the communities.

“The SPDC should be able to pay the available sum latest by Monday. Shell would pay N260m and N75m by Monday.

“The communities should, within seven days of signing the resolution, vacate the facility.  Also within two weeks, Shell should pay the remaining part of N1.014bn.”

The Rivers SSG added that it was resolved that the SPDC would, therefore, obtain approval from the National Petroleum Investment Management Services to pay the money that accrued between 2009 and 2013.

He added that within two weeks of signing the resolution, the state government would set up a platform for Shell and the communities to renegotiate the Global Memorandum of Understanding.

The General Manager, External Relations, SPDC, Mr Igo Weli, said the first set of funds to the communities would be paid on Monday.

He said the outcome of the financial reconciliations would be paid within two weeks of signing the resolution.

Weli added that the SPDC, in line with the resolution of the meeting, was seeking the approval of NAPIMs for payment of funds for 2009 and 2013.

The Chairman of Akuku-Toru LGA, Rowland Sekibo, said the meeting initiated by the state governor had recorded a milestone with agreement on the funds to be paid by SPDC.

The OML 25 was shut down by some indigenes of the three communities in 2017, citing alleged neglect and non-implementation of development projects by the SPDC, which had been operating in the area for some years.

Oil rises to $66, Europe snaps up Nigerian crude

The international oil benchmark, Brent crude, extended its gains on Wednesday, rising to above $66 per barrel.

Brent, against which Nigerian crude oil is priced, gained $1.69 to settle at $66.74 as of 4.30 pm Nigerian time. It plunged to around $60 per barrel early this month.

Outages at North Sea oilfields have helped put competing Nigerian oil on pace to arrive in Europe at the highest levels in seven months in June, according to Refinitiv Eikon data and traders.

Nigeria is set to export about 905,000 barrels per day to the continent this month, the most since a roughly five-year high of about one million bpd in November, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Norwegian and UK offshore fields in the North Sea normally provide a steady supply of lighter crude to refineries feeding northern Europe’s major economies and are traditionally more competitive than Nigerian grades due to their proximity.

But planned maintenance on Norway’s Ekofisk oilfields this month slashed exports to just one cargo from the usual 10 to 15. Flotta, another of the 12 North Sea fields, closed for repairs over two weeks in late May.

“Nigerian grades are normally middle-distillate-rich and with Ekofisk having undergone maintenance, Nigeria is meeting European demand for this type of crude,” Ehsan Ul-Haq, lead analyst for oil research and forecasts at Refinitiv, was quoted as saying.

Supply of the five North Sea crude grades that underpin the dated Brent benchmark is set to fall to around 720,000 bpd in June, from 948,000 bpd the month before.

The contamination of a pipeline carrying Russian Urals crude in April interrupted flows to central and eastern Europe for a month and left stocks in need of replenishment.

Higher volumes to Europe have provided an unexpected boom, with Nigerian exports to the United States on the wane for a decade due to increased US shale oil production, and demand relatively steady in Nigeria’s key markets, India and Indonesia.

“(Europe) always tends to act as the clearing house at lower value than the East,” one trader selling Nigerian crude said.

Though European petrol margins were said to have been middling and especially poor among southern European refiners, several factors might mesh in coming months to support Nigerian differentials, which stand near multi-year highs.

Traders said the possibility of a permanent shutdown to the fire-stricken Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery in the city, though it was a consistent importer of Nigerian crude, would increase demand for petrol refined in Europe.

Egina, heavy sweet crude from a new offshore field, was said to have proved consistently popular among refiners in northwest Europe.

“Exports of the grade primarily go to Europe, specifically the Netherlands and France, which combined took around 155,000 bpd in May, or 83 per cent of the grade’s exports,” said Mercedes McKay, analyst at energy consultancy FGE.

Nigeria, others need more oil exploration – Sahara Group

A subsidiary of Sahara Group, Asharami Energy, has said oil and gas businesses in Africa need to intensify exploration efforts to guarantee reserve replacement and enhance capacity to meet growing demand and global competition.

The company’s Managing Director, Olajumoke Ajayi, said operators needed to adopt new technology, explore alternative cost-saving measures, ensure sustainable community relations, and build diverse multidisciplinary teams to ensure successful exploration projects.

According to her, Africa’s large volumes of undiscovered oil and gas make the continent a veritable frontier for investment.

In her presentation at the Oil and Gas Council’s Africa Assembly in Paris, she cited the downturn in global oil prices and the corresponding negative effects on investor funds and returns as factors that had made a good number of exploration and production companies in Africa cut down on investments, delay Final Investment Decision or totally stop embarking on new capital projects.

Ajayi said, “Consequently, producing companies continue to pump oil from operated mature fields, thereby depleting existing reserves with non-corresponding efforts for reserve replacement via new exploration discoveries. The big question remains whether or not E&P players should commit to exploration and how players can justify this commitment in the face of lower oil prices.”

She said the compelling case for the relevance of hydrocarbons in the future, in addition to huge investments on new technology, responsible and intentional community engagement, would play a significant role in creating a stable and conducive environment for exploration and production.

“Sahara Group’s exploration success story is being driven by a combination of technology, innovation and community management expertise. At Sahara, we are intentionally committed to creating a sustainable balance between our projects and host communities to ensure the creation of shared value for all stakeholders,” she added.

According to her, strategic community engagements eliminate community interference in operations of capital projects that may lead to significant downtime; and ensure that the host community understands its role as a project stakeholder and treats projects as commonwealth source for the people, among others.