Africa Oil Announces Record Financial Results and 2022 Management Guidance

Highlights

  • Record full-year net income of $190.7 million or $0.40 per share.
  • Cash balance at December 31, 2021 of $58.9 million. Our corporate facility has been fully repaid and $100m of the facility remains available for general corporate purposes until December 2022.
  • The Company will institute a shareholder dividend policy with an initial 2022 aggregate annual distribution of $0.05 per share (approximately $25 million) to be paid semi-annually, with the first payment payable on March 31, 2022, to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 17, 2022.
  • Venus 1-X exploration well results in a major light oil discovery on Block 2913B (the Company has a 6.2% indirect interest through its shareholding in Impact Oil & Gas Limited), offshore Namibia, that together with the nearby Graff-1 discovery on the adjacent Block 2913A (the Company has no interest in this block), herald the opening of a major petroleum province with significant upside potential for the Company.
  • Positive year-end 2021 statement of reserves with working interest (W.I.) proved plus probable reserves (“2P”) replacement ratio of 102% (year-end 2020: 114%).
  • Selected Prime’s results net to Africa Oil’s 50% shareholding*:
    • full-year W.I. production of 27,300 boepd and economic entitlement production of 29,700 boepd (84% light and medium crude oil and 16% conventional natural gas) are at the top end of 2021 Management Guidance2,3; and
    • In Q4 2021, EBITDAX of $163.4 million (full-year period: $654.5 million)4.
    • In Q4 2021, cash generated from operating activities of $60.6 million (full-year period: $526.7 million, includes $152.5 million of Agbami Security Deposit received).
    • Cash position of $258.9 million and debt balance of $508.4 million at December 31, 2021; Robust Net Debt to EBITDAX of 0.4x in 2021.
  • 2022 Management Guidance:
    • Average daily W.I. production range of 22,500-25,500 boepd and net entitlement production range of 23,000-27,000 boepd net to the Company’s 50% shareholding in Prime, with approximately 84% expected to be light and medium crude oil and 16% conventional natural gas; and
    • Prime’s cash flow from operating activities of $300-$400 million net to the Company’s 50% shareholding in Prime.
  • Inaugural ESG Review published in March 2021, followed by a comprehensive Sustainability Report, including TCFD compliant scenario analysis, published today, 28th February 2022.
  • In 2021, the Company set a target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025. Towards this goal, the Company purchased an initial tranche of offsets covering >20% of Scope 1 and 2 emissions from a Gold Standard certified clean cookstove project in Kenya, and began feasibility studies for direct investment in a proprietary nature-based carbon removal project.

Africa Oil President and CEO Keith Hill commented: “We had a very strong financial year as demonstrated by our record earnings and the full repayment of our corporate debt, and I am pleased that we are now in the robust financial position to able to announce our inaugural dividend. This strong position will allow us to continue to pursue accretive production acquisition opportunities  while returning excess cash to shareholders.  We remain bullish about oil prices and opportunities in the current energy transition environment.”

2022 MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE

The Company’s 2022 production will be contributed solely by its 50% shareholding in Prime. The 2022 Management Guidance includes WI production guidance range of 22,500-25,500 boepd and net entitlement production range of 23,000-27,000 boepd with approximately 84% expected to be light and medium crude oil and 16% conventional natural gas.

Net entitlement production estimate is based on a 2022 Brent price of $87.0/bbl being the average of the Brent forward curve as of February 15, 2022. Net entitlement production is calculated using the economic interest methodology and includes cost recovery oil, tax oil and profit oil and is different from WI. production that is calculated based on project volumes multiplied by Prime’s effective WI.

Prime is continuing its hedging program with the target of covering 50%-70% of its planned cargoes over a rolling 12-month look-ahead period. For the period Q2 2022 to end Q1 2023, only 5 out of 11 cargoes that are scheduled to be lifted by Prime have been hedged, providing the Company with material exposure to oil prices.

It is expected that Prime will lift 11-13 cargoes (5.5-6.5 cargoes net to the Company) in 2022 for its share of cost and profit oil. The average cargo lifted is for one million barrels of oil. Prime has forward sold its first 10 cargos in 2022 at average Dated Brent price of $73.1/bbl. The actual price will include a quality and shipping cost adjustment which means the realized price will be different to the hedged prices. At the date of this press release, Prime has lifted 3 cargoes with an average realized price of $66.0/bbl and is expected to lift another two cargoes by end of Q1 2022 at average Dated Brent price of $70.1/bbl. Remaining five cargoes that are sold forward are at average Dated Brent Price of $78.6/bbl.

Based on the above production and cargo lifting ranges and Prime’s current 2022 hedging program, the Company’s management estimate Prime to generate cash flow from operations of approximately $300-$400 million net to the Company’s 50% shareholding.

Any dividends received by the Company from Prime’s operating cash flows and cash on hand will be subject to Prime’s capital investment and financing cashflows, including Prime’s RBL interest payments and principal amortization. Net to the Company’s 50% shareholding, Prime’s 2022 capital investment is expected to be in the range of $40-$70 million and its net debt repayment in the range of $200-$230 million. Prime had a cash and cash equivalents balance of $258.9 million net to the Company’s 50% shareholding at December 31, 2021.

The Company’s 2022 corporate budget is estimated to be approximately $19-$21 million and includes pre-FID budget for Project Oil Kenya, G&A and exploration activities.

2022 OUTLOOK

The Company’s debt-free balance sheet, its share of Prime’s cash flows and access to debt funding on competitive terms, supports a range of opportunities for the Company to achieve accretive growth and create shareholder value. The Company’s valuation is underpinned by its 50% shareholding in Prime, which accounts for all of the Company’s reserves and production interests.

The Company will work to maximize Prime’s dividends by distributing its excess cash, whilst maintaining a prudent treasury management policy at Prime. The near-term priority is to extend Prime’s debt tenor with the primary objective over the next year of refinancing Prime’s RBL facility, possibly facilitated by the voluntary early conversion of Prime’s licenses in Nigeria to the new PIA terms. The Company’s management will also work with Prime to assess other financing options that could extend Prime’s debt maturity profile on competitive costs, such as the PXF facility that was arranged by Prime in 2021. An extension of Prime’s debt tenor is anticipated to allocate more of Prime’s near-term cash flows towards the payment of dividends to its shareholders, including the Company.

Dividends received from Prime will support the Company’s shareholder capital return programs and business development activities that are focused on the acquisition of producing assets.

The Company is committed to a sustainable dividend policy for its shareholders over the future years. The Company is pleased to announce that its Board of Directors has declared an initial aggregate annual dividend of $0.05 per share (approximately $25.0 million) to be paid semi-annually, with the first payment payable on March 31, 2022, to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 17, 2022. This dividend qualifies as an ‘eligible dividend’ for Canadian income tax purposes.

Dividends on shares traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (“TSX”) will be paid in Canadian dollars on March 31, 2022. Dividends on shares traded on Nasdaq Stockholm will be paid in Swedish kronor in accordance with Euroclear principles on April 1, 2022. To execute the payment of the dividend, a temporary administrative cross-border transfer closure will be applied by Euroclear from March 16, 2022, up to and including March 17, 2022 during which period shares of the Company cannot be transferred between the TSX and Nasdaq Stockholm The Company’s Annual General Meeting is planned to be held on April 20, 2022.

This initial annual dividend has been determined by the Board to strike a prudent balance between allocating capital for potential acquisitions, shareholder capital returns and maintaining a robust balance sheet in a range of oil market conditions. The Board will regularly review this policy and depending on the Company’s progress in maturing acquisition opportunities and the market outlook, the Board may approve additional distributions and/or share buybacks, subject to the customary approvals. As always, the declaration of dividends is at the discretion of the Board.

The Company has been actively working on the acquisition of strategic producing assets that are accretive on per share valuation and cashflow metrics. The Company has maintained a very disciplined approach towards this goal with detailed technical, commercial and legal due diligence applied for each opportunity and the primary goal of not diluting or risking the current strong investment case. The Company’s focus remains on buying producing assets offshore West Africa and the management will consider both operated and non-operated opportunities as well as oil and natural gas assets. The Board may also consider corporate merger and acquisition opportunities if there is strong strategic rationale for such a transaction with strong prospects to increase shareholder value. There is no guarantee that the Company can complete such transactions and it will update the market during the year on its efforts.

Through its 30.9% shareholding in Impact Oil & Gas, the Company has an indirect interest of 6.2% in Block 2913B, offshore Namibia. The Company announced the Venus light oil and associated gas discovery on this block on February 24, 2021. Venus’ initial results have exceeded pre-drill estimates and along with the recently announced Graff discovery on a neighboring block, has opened a new petroleum province in the Orange Basin with significant upside potential. Venus and Graff discoveries support the exploration case for Block 3B/4B, which is operated by the Company with a 20% working interest and Impact’s Orange Basin Deep Block, both located on trend in the Orange Basin, South Africa.

Through its shareholdings in Africa Energy, the Company has exposure to the Gazania-1 exploration well that will be drilled in Block 2B offshore South Africa, with a target spud date by end of 2022. The Gazania-1 will test a prospect in the A-J rift basin that is near but updip of the A-J1 oil discovery (1988) that flowed 36o API oil to surface. A success at Gazania-1 would de-risk a large inventory of prospects in the block that have been identified from 3D seismic data. Africa Oil has an indirect 5.5% economic interest in Block 2B through its 19.9% shareholding of Africa Energy. Africa Energy holds a carried 27.5% working interest in Block 2B with partners Eco Atlantic (Operator, 50% WI), Panoro Energy (12.5% W.I.) and Crown Energy (10% W.I.).

During 2021, the Company and its JV Partners (Tullow Oil and TotalEnergies) have completed the redesign of Project Oil Kenya to ensure it is technically, commercially and environmentally robust. The Company and its partners initiated a farm-out process for Project Oil Kenya in 2021. Advanced discussions are on-going with the interested parties. A successful farm-out is viewed by the Company as a critical step towards the FID for Project Oil Kenya being achieved over the course of next year. There is no guarantee that the Company can successfully conclude a farm-out to new strategic partner(s) on favorable terms.  The Company will update the market on this process in due course.

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