MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Juliet Okereke
Nigeria’s leading independent energy company, Seplat Energy Plc has disclosed impressive performance in its just published 2022 Annual Report.
Alongside details of another strong year of operations were some disclosures that will attract attention. It was a successful year for Seplat with revenues up 30% to $952 million and adjusted EBITDA up 12% to $417 million. Across the year, the company generated $571.2 million of cash. Oil and gas production in 2022 averaged 44,000 barrels equivalent and is expected to increase to 45-55 kboepd for 2023.
This strong performance resulted in the Company having cash of $404 million even after paying its dividend, bringing the total paid to shareholders since 2014 to $476 million.
The Company reported that it entered 2023 in a very healthy state, with new wells coming onstream, encouraging appraisal drilling underway, and alternative export routes ensuring good export performance in the first months of the year.
Confidence remains high that Seplat will get the approvals for its proposed acquisition of MPNU during the first half of 2023, which will significantly increase its production and reserves. Seplat also made progress on its net zero ambitions achieving a 35% reduction in emission intensity in 2022 and pledging to end routine flaring by the end of 2024.
The Company’s contribution to Nigeria was made clear in its new Annual Report. As an indigenous company and homegrown international success story, Seplat Group has over 500 employees, almost 99% of whom are Nigerians, invested $10.8 million in the year to support its local communities, and its gas production at times powered 30% of Nigeria’s electricity grid. Seplat also announced that in 2022 it generated close to $1 billion in revenue share for Nigeria.
The annual report also listed the Company’s largest shareholders, those with 5% or more of the Company. These are: Maurel et Prom – 20.46%; Petrolin Group – 13.77%; Sustainable Capital – 8.98%; Austin Avuru (PSL) – 8.15%; and Allan Gray – 7.51%.
Curiously, one party missing from the line up of largest shareholders is the former chairman, Dr. ABC Orjiako. He is the only founder who no longer appears on this list. Having at one stage owned over 30% of Seplat Energy it was known that he sold shares prior to the Company’s landmark 2014 IPO in Lagos and London. Immediately after the IPO he still held nearly 85 million shares, or 15.6% of the Company. However, it now appears that he owns less than 5% of the company otherwise, his name would have appeared on the list. One wonders how he still retains the right to have a representative on the board of Seplat?
The Company is currently embroiled in a well-publicised legal spat which it has attributed to ‘a spurious and vindictive reaction to the enforcement of corporate governance standards’. Its Annual Report highlights that it has participated in the Nigerian Stock Exchange’s Corporate Governance Rating System which rates corporate governance and integrity practices. Seplat obtained a score of 91.21% well above the 70% pass mark. The report also lays out Seplat’s Diversity & Integrity policy which ‘prohibits the Company from engaging in any form of discrimination based on gender, race, religion or disability’ and applies to all employees regardless of their seniority.
Seplat Energy described its mission as to supply sustainable energy that will drive economic growth, create a stronger society and provide opportunities for all Nigerians to live healthy and prosperous lives.