Seplat: Indigenous oil firm with heart for business expansion, community devt

Introduction:
One of the few indigenous oil and gas firms positioned in 2009 to benefit from the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Act 2010, (signed in April, 2010) by the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, is Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc.

Seplat was formed in June 2009 through the partnership of Shebah Petroleum Development Company Limited and Platform Petroleum Joint Ventures Limited to specifically pursue upstream oil and gas opportunities in Nigeria, and in particular, divestment opportunities arising out of the incumbent major portfolios of the International Oil Companies (IOCs).

In July 2010, Seplat acquired a 45 per cent working interest in, and was appointed operator of, a portfolio of three onshore producing oil and gas leases: Oil Mining Licenses (OMLs) 4, 38 and 41, located in the prolific western delta basin of Edo and Delta states.

Initially Seplat formed a JV partnership with NNPC, until NNPC transferred its 55 per cent interest to NPDC. Today, Seplat operates the blocks on behalf of the Seplat/NPDC joint venture.

In June 2013, Newton Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of Seplat, reached an agreement with Pillar Oil to acquire a 40 per cent participating interest (non-operated) in the Umuseti/Igbuku fields (OPL 283).

In 2015, Seplat purchased a 40 per cent participating interest in OML 53, onshore north eastern Niger Delta, from Chevron Nigeria Ltd and a revenue interest in OML 55, south eastern Niger Delta.

In January 2017, Seplat incorporated a new subsidiary, ANOH Gas Processing Company (AGPC) Limited, a midstream gas company committed to the processing of gas from OML 53 for distribution to the local market.

In August 2018, Seplat entered into a shareholder agreement with Nigerian Gas Processing and Transportation Company (NGPTC) to subscribe for equal ownership of AGPC.

In December 2019, Seplat completed the acquisition of AIM listed Eland Oil and Gas. Eland holds participating interests in OML 40 and Ubima marginal field.

In 10 years, Seplat succeeded in growing its portfolios from zero to eight oil blocks with direct interests in seven blocks in the Niger Delta area, four of which Seplat operates, and one further revenue interest.

 

The company’s strategy

The company’s focus is on maximising hydrocarbon production and recovery from its existing assets, acquiring and farming into new opportunities in Nigeria (specifically those which offer production, cash flow and reserve replacement potential, with a particular focus on the onshore and shallow water offshore areas) and realising the upside potential within its portfolio through exploration and appraisal activities.

Since Seplat acquired its first blocks and commenced production in 2010, the company has increased oil and gas production and grown reserves in each year of operation and is today widely recognised as a leading Nigerian independent oil and gas operator. Underpinning Seplat is a strong balance sheet and profitable production base with a balanced mix of oil and gas.

Seplat has a 45 per cent working interest in OMLs 4, 38 and 41 which are located in Edo (OML 4) and Delta (OMLs 38 and 41) states onshore Nigeria. Seplat is operator of the three blocks, which together form one contract area, on behalf of the NPDC/Seplat Joint Venture.

As operator, Seplat is empowered with running the day-to-day operations activities and is able to set production and operational improvement goals and lead exploration and appraisal activities, subject to the approval of its partner.

Production is predominantly from seven fields, namely Amukpe, Oben, Okporhuru, Ovhor, Orogho, Sapele and Sapele Shallow, and the partners aim to bring additional fields on stream in the future.

Since acquiring the blocks in July 2010, the company has consistently grown oil production capacity, primarily through the drilling of new wells and employing advanced and proven technologies to increase production in mature fields.

The company also became the first operator in the Niger Delta to install a LACT unit, enabling significantly improved measurement of produced oil prior to injection into the Trans Forcados Pipeline system. This has greatly reduced the reconciliation losses applied to the company’s oil production to a level of approximately 10 per cent to 12 per cent, compared to an average of approximately 18 per cent to 20 per cent prior to installation of the LACT unit.

Alongside the oil business, the company has also prioritised the commercialisation and development of the substantial gas reserves and resources identified at OMLs 4, 38 and 41 and is today a leading supplier of gas to the domestic market in Nigeria.

Going forward, Seplat plans to further increase its gas production and processing capacity to help meet Nigeria’s growing demand, particularly in the gas to power sector. A major step forward in this respect has been the modular build-up of processing capacity at the Oben facility to create a strategic gas hub ideally located to aggregate and supply gas to Nigeria’s main demand centres.

 

Governance

The business of the company is built on effective corporate governance framework and corporate governance standards. These standards dictate how it operates as a business and the way in which Seplat is governed.

It also guides how it relates with various stakeholders. Over the last few years, Seplat has successfully grown its business and created significant shareholder value despite the challenges confronting it in its operating environment.

Its strong corporate governance structure led to creation of seven subsidiaries. Seplat transferred the business activities, and assets of OMLs 4, 38 and 41 from the holding company to its wholly-owned subsidiary, Seplat West Limited.

The transfer of OMLs 4, 38 and 41 from Seplat Plc to Seplat West results in the creation of seven wholly-owned subsidiaries namely: Newton Energy Limited, Seplat Petroleum Development Company UK Limited, Seplat East Onshore Limited, Seplat East Swamp Company Limited, Seplat Gas Company Limited, Eland Oil and Gas Limited and Seplat West Limited, with no operating oil and gas assets directly held in the holding company.

 

Financials

Seplat is the only Nigerian company fully listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange.

In April 2014, Seplat completed the first ever dual listing on both the London Stock Exchange and the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Seplat raised $535 million in an initial public offering that ranked as the largest for a sub-Saharan Africa company since 2008 and the second largest ever for a Nigerian company, demonstrating the international investor appetite for leading Nigerian indigenous players in the oil and gas sector. The capital raised allowed Seplat to further implement the Company’s business strategy, including the acquisition of additional blocks.

Seplat has a strong reserve base and proven track record of converting  contingent resources to reserves.

 

Production

Since its first acquisition in 2010, Seplat has risen to become a leading indigenous oil and gas operator in Nigeria. The company has increased its production and reserves year on year and has consistently grown revenues and profits since it commenced operations.

Gross operated liquids production at OMLs 4, 38 and 41 at the time of acquisition was 14,000 bopd.

Through the implementation of a focused re-development work programme and drilling campaign, the company grew this to a peak rate of over 84,000 bopd, representing a six-fold increase and significantly ahead of the peak rate achieved by the previous operator of approximately 56,000 bopd in 1996.

Alongside its oil business, the company has successfully established itself as the pre-eminent supplier of natural gas to the domestic market in Nigeria through substantial investments made in the commercialisation, development and monetisation of the substantial gas reserves that exist on its blocks.

Whilst natural gas was commonly viewed as a by-product from oil production in previous years, Seplat was quick to see the opportunity of the increasing importance of natural gas as a key source of energy for Nigeria. The company has responded by investing in the installation of dedicated gas production and processing facilities and the drilling of gas production wells to meet domestic supply obligations and provide feedstock to power projects that will help increase Nigeria’s power generation capacity.

Rather than being the by-product, natural gas for Seplat is a valuable primary commodity in its own right that will form a significant component of its future growth and success in Nigeria.

Strong relationship with local communities one of the greatest challenges confronting exploration and exploitation companies in Nigeria is disruption of operations by host communities. Seplat, however, has built strong relationships with its key local communities, promoting trust and confidence amongst its various stakeholders, ultimately resulting in a stable operating environment that facilitates the creation of shared value.

In December 2010, the company entered into a Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) with the communities within OMLs 4, 38 and 41 which host its operations and has established a trust fund for community projects. To continue to nurture these relationships, Seplat is fully focused on proactive engagement with the communities where it operates; implementing community projects based on sustainable development principles.

These initiatives seek to promote local capacity building. Support host community participation and enhance the quality of life for individuals within these local communities through the provision of high-standard free healthcare, implementation of education and community development programmes, skills training, educational scholarships/grants and the development of local infrastructure.

Importantly, Seplat has established an operational base office within these host communities, reflecting the depth of its commitment and the importance it places on the relationship it has with its host communities and partners.

 

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