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TANZANIA: Wentworth Expects to Achieve Milestone Average Production Rate for 2021 of over 80 MMscf/day

Following a successful first half of the year, demand for natural gas in Tanzania has again remained strong throughout the second half. This strengthening in demand in 2021 is due to sustained economic growth, continued demand in the industrial sector and partly due to lack of supply from hydro-electric generation as a result of poor rainfall over the catchment areas of the hydro dams.

The Company, through its partnership in the Mnazi Bay Joint Venture, continues to provide a reliable source of natural gas for domestic electricity generation, thereby supporting Tanzania to secure energy that is critical for its ongoing development and growth.

The average gross daily production rate from the Mnazi Bay gas field in December 2021 to date has been approximately 102 MMscf/day and, as a result of the stronger overall demand during 2021, the Company expects to achieve a milestone average production rate for the calendar year of over 80 MMscf/day – exceeding the high-end of the already upwardly-revised guidance from June 2021.

Operational highlights

·    The health and safety of employees remains paramount and robust precautionary measures have been and continue to be implemented to mitigate against the risk of COVID-19 both in the field and in the Dar es Salaam office. There has been no operational disruption due to COVID-19 to date

·    The Company expects to achieve an annual average production rate for 2021 of more than 80 MMcf/day, above the high-end of revised guidance for the year and significantly above the average rate in 2020

Updated guidance as of June 2021 was 70 – 80 MMcf/day (gross), raised from 65 – 75 MMcf/day (gross)

2021 average daily production is approximately 23% higher than the average daily production rate in 2020, which was 65 MMcf/day

·    Operational costs of production remain low due to continued focus on cost efficiencies and high degree of operational leverage at Mnazi Bay

·    The Mnazi Bay JV Partners have delivered on the 2021 work programme, which was focused on ensuring reliability and sustainability of supply. Highlights include:

Slickline operations on the MB-4, MB-2 and MS-1X wells

Refurbishment of the MB-1 well site superstructure, which was completed significantly under budget

Pre-Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) Study on installing a compressor station to the Gas Production Facility at Mnazi Bay

·   Subject to regulatory approval of the 2022 budget, the JV partners expect to continue with standard slickline operations to optimise the capacity of the Mnazi Bay field and to progress the compression project which is due for completion in 2023, as well as further evaluating opportunities to deliver additional gas supplies

·   The Company intends to explore and evaluate growth opportunities both within the Mnazi Bay licence and the greater geographical region to support increasing in-country demand for natural gas

Strong and growing demand outlook 

·   TANESCO announced in November that natural gas will be used to address a 345MW shortage gap of power to the National Grid to compensate for the lack of capacity from its hydro-electric power stations due to low water levels in the dams and rivers of the catchment areas

·   As part of the plan, TANESCO intends to increase production by fast-tracking maintenance of its natural gas-plants at Ubungo and expediting the completion of the Kinyerezi I Extension Generation Facility

 Record financial performance 

·    Record financial results announced in September 2021, placing the Company in the strongest financial position in its history, with record revenue, EBITDAX, and cash on hand

·    Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) continues to remain fully current with all invoices for gas sales; Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) has repaid in full its outstanding arrears and is now fully up to date with due invoices 

·    Strengthening financial position with $24 million cash in hand at 30 November 2021 2021, after payment of both $2.6 million final dividend for 2020 in July 2021 and $1.32 million interim dividend in October, an increase from $22.5 million cash as at 30 June 2021

·    Strength of financial performance enabled an increased interim dividend to be declared of of GBP 0.52 pence per share, 10% higher than the 2020 Interim distribution of $1.2 million

·    Wentworth expects a 2021 final dividend of US$2.64 million in line with the company’s policy of a 1/3 : 2/3 split between the interim and the final dividend – which would bring total capital returns for FY2021 to US$3.96 million

 Sustainability priorities

·   Stakeholder engagement is key to Wentworth’s sustainability strategy; strong relationships with in-country partners including the Government of Tanzania and local communities are evidenced by ongoing demand growth, operational performance and payment of receivables

·    To further formalise its strategic focus on climate action and its broader ESG priorities, Wentworth formed a Board Sustainability Committee in September of this year with Juliet Kairuki appointed as Chair, providing greater oversight of the business’ ESG risks and opportunities

·  Maintaining its robust ESG framework remains a priority following the launch of the inaugural Sustainability Report this year. The publication of the 2021 report is expected in April 2022

·    Measurement and mitigation of climate-related impacts is a critical component of Wentworth’s climate strategy. In November, a new agreement between Wentworth and Vitol SA was established to jointly develop new community-focused carbon credit programmes in Tanzania aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Immediate objective is for Wentworth to offset all scope 1 and 2 emissions and partially offset scope 3 emissions by 2022

Wentworth’s emissions footprint remains one of the lowest in the UK-listed E&P sector  on a scope 1 and 2 basis with an emissions intensity in 2020 of 0.42kg/CO2 boe (1,676.9t CO2 e)Wentworth’s priority is to take continuous action to reduce emissions as swiftly as possible with further progress made in 2021 on reduction initiatives to be outlined in the 2021 Sustainability Report.

Katherine Roe, CEO, commented:

“As we reach the end of 2021, at Wentworth we have been delighted to reflect on our many successes of the year. Our most recent being our expectation to beat our revised guidance and to achieve a milestone average production rate for 2021 of over 80 MMscf/day.

The demand dynamics in Tanzania are becoming increasingly compelling with an ambitious economic growth plan set to accelerate energy demand further over the coming years. And whilst driving up energy access through our natural gas production has a transformational role to play on the socio-economic outcomes for our communities in Tanzania, we have also used this year to ensure we are playing a responsible role in mitigating and minimising our impacts as much as we can and as quickly as we can. Our carbon offset partnership with Vitol is evidence of this and we are excited about taking this journey with them for the benefit of our communities in country. 

We thank John Bentley for his invaluable contribution and many years of being part of our Wentworth team. He has been an integral part of the Board during his tenure and he will be missed on both a professional and personal level.

Looking ahead to year end, we remain in the strongest position in our corporate history, with half the Company’s market capitalisation backed by cash. Our robust fundamentals have ensured that we remain financially and operationally resilient allowing us to increase our returns to shareholders year on year. We remain committed to our sustainable and progressive dividend policy and look forward to reporting back on full year performance in 2022.”

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