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Seplat, ExxonMobil Deal Positive for Economy—Wood Mackenzie

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seplat and exxonmobil

Seplat Energy Plc on February 25 announced an agreement to acquire the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU), a subsidiary of ExxonMobil.

In its recent insight, Wood Mackenzie, a trusted intelligence provider that empowers decision-makers with unique insights on the world’s natural resources said in the energy transition era, both ExxonMobil and Seplat will be pleased with the deal, adding that the deal offers huge upside for oil as well as gas.

Also, Wood Mackenzie, the leading research and consultancy business for the global energy, power and renewable, resurface, chemicals, metals and mining industry, said because this deal is a corporate acquisition, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited has no rights to pre-empt a deal under the Joint Operating Agreement (JOA), which governs the JV, rather than ministerial consent would be the only hurdle remaining, “although nothing can be taken for granted”.

MPNU has a 40 per cent operated interest in a Joint Venture with NNPC (60 per cent). The JV includes OMLs 67, 68, 70, 104, the Qua Iboe oil export terminal. MPNU also has a 51percent interest in the Bonny River NGL Recovery project.

Seplat has agreed to pay $1,283 million, plus contingent consideration of up to $300 million. The effective date is 1 January 2021 and completion is expected in H2 2022, pending ministerial approval. Seplat’s debt financing of $825 million is fully committed by a syndicate of Nigerian and African banks, and energy and commodity traders.

Implications: If it completes, the deal will be transformational for Seplat Energy. It is already the leading indigenous company in Nigeria, but this will triple its working interest production to over 140,000 boe/d. In total, Seplat will operate 15percent of Nigerian oil production.

Crucially, the deal diversifies its operations into shallow water, which is largely devoid of the thefts afflicting its onshore operations. Although this is Seplat’s first offshore acquisition, it will acquire all of MPNU’s Nigerian staff, thus allaying any concerns about its operational capabilities.

Valuation

Our equity-based valuation of MPNU – excluding the Qua Iboe terminal – is $870 million (discounted 10 per cent, January 2021, $50/bbl long-term).

However, at $70/bbl, we value the company at $1.678 billion. In the energy transition era, ExxonMobil will be pleased with this deal. But so will Seplat, as the deal offers huge upside for oil as well as gas.

The portfolio includes a massive 1.3 billion boe of contingent resources, 75 per cent of which is gas. Less than half of its 70 fields have been developed. Although the JV has been in production since the early 1970s, its maturity relates more to the extensive infrastructure than the reservoirs themselves. Yes, many fields are in decline, but they have also been under-invested for over 20 years.

Seplat has built a business turning around the Majors’ unwanted assets, a process it started in 2010. With the acquisition, its portfolio becomes very oil dominated. ExxonMobil refused to be drawn into the high-risk domestic gas market and had no exposure to NLNG. As a result, the acreage has the highest concentration of gas flaring in the country. Seplat, a listed company, will need to tackle this immediately.

Longer-term it will look to develop access into the domestic market in line with government policy, while there is also scope for LNG too. An FLNG project at Yoho on OML 104 was already under discussion before the deal.

That could now accelerate, while long-term supply to NLNG is another option.

There is also a possible upside from the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) fiscal terms. Our analysis shows the JV portfolio would more than double in value if Seplat converts. However, this is far from certain, since it would have to relinquish up to 60percent of its acreage and much of the resource it has just acquired. A thorough review of its now extensive portfolio to identify the most advantaged barrels will be an urgent priority. The deadline for converting to the new fiscal terms is February 2023.

The deal is not without risks either. Seplat will have to find billions of dollars in the longer term to transform its portfolio and some rationalisation could follow. NNPC will of course be Seplat’s JV partner, and its ability to fund its 60 per cent equity longer term as it transitions to a limited liability company will be just as critical to the success of the deal.

ExxonMobil

ExxonMobil has been planning to sell its JV business for years, and its exit is overdue. The shallow water JV assets have long been non-core and are some of the highest-cost barrels in its global portfolio.

Although emissions were not a key driver for selling, the deal will help with its recently announced net-zero targets for scope 1 and 2 emissions.

The portfolio has an intensity of 48 kgCO2e/boe, more than double its global average.

It can now focus on renegotiating workable fiscal terms for its Nigerian deepwater assets like Erha and Usan. However, if that does not end successfully, a country exit could be on the cards, given its deepwater options in Guyana and Brazil.

No NNPC pre-emption

Because this is a corporate acquisition, NNPC has no right to pre-empt a deal under the Joint Operating Agreement (JOA), which governs the JV. This means that ministerial consent would be the only hurdle remaining, although nothing can be taken for granted.

Shell’s ongoing divestment of its subsidiary SPDC, similarly rules out pre-emption. If NNPC wants to acquire that portfolio, then it will have to out-bid the competition. If successful in raising up to $5 billion with Afrexim Bank it would have the firepower to do just that, and massively strengthen its position in the onshore delta.

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Economy

Nigeria’s Crude Oil Refining Capacity to Hit 1.2 million bpd in 5 Years—NCDMB

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Diesel Refining Capacity

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has expressed optimism that in the next five years, crude oil refineries in the country would be able to refine not less than 1.2 million barrels per day.

The Executive Secretary of the organisation, Mr Simbi Wabote, while speaking at the maiden NCDMB Nigerian Content Midstream/Downstream Oil & Gas Summit in Lagos themed Towards Maximizing Potentials in the Midstream and Downstream Oil & Gas Sector – A Local Content Perspective, said, “About 400,000 barrels per day is expected from the rehabilitation of NNPC refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna using target performance of not less than ninety per cent of nameplate capacity.

“The Greenfield element of the roadmap covers the mechanically complete 650,000 barrels per day Dangote Refinery in Lagos and the 200,000 barrels per day BUA Refinery in Akwa Ibom state.”

He disclosed that the NCDMB has partnered with major operators in the industry such as NNPC, Waltersmith, Azikel, and Atlantic Refinery among other stakeholders to help grow domestic refining capacity.

Mr Wabote also said that Nigerian content is targeted to achieve 70 per cent in the Nigerian oil and gas industry by the year 2027.

“Based on our 10-year strategic roadmap to achieve 70 per cent Nigerian Content target in the Nigerian oil and gas industry by the year 2027, the midstream and downstream sectors of the industry represent key areas to derive and extract value to meet our set target,” he said.

According to Mr Wabote, there is an opportunity to maximize potential in the midstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry, especially in the area of employment, entry barriers for businesses, and profit margin in the LPG value chain, energy security and social impact.

“It is important to highlight that this development goal goes beyond the oil and gas but has linkage to other sectors of the economy covering construction, ICT, agriculture, Research and Development, Education, and others.

“NCDMB is serving as a catalyst to enhance the realization of the refining roadmap,” the NCDMB boss stated.

He also emphasized the importance of the completion of projects undertaken by the board and partners, saying, “There is no doubt that these giant strides in the midstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry are indeed the envy of many African countries. It is however important that we finish off the projects under development so that the associated values and opportunities could be realized.”

”The need to share investment and skills across the borders within Africa, indigenous research and development, funding structure for hydrocarbon projects, and others were key factors identified as focus areas to ensure our readiness to take our destiny in our hands.

“I am delighted that APPO has signed an MOU with Afrexim Bank to set the ball rolling in addressing the funding challenge,” he added.

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Economy

Identity Management System Will Reduce Unclaimed Dividends—SEC

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Unclaimed Dividends

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has expressed confidence that the identity management system being developed for the Nigerian capital market will reduce the problems of unclaimed dividends.

The high unclaimed dividends in the system have been a source of worry for the regulator, prompting the introduction of the e-dividend mandate, which made it possible for shareholders to receive their cash rewards directly into their bank accounts.

One of the issues discovered to be fuelling the fallow dividends is the identity management crisis and to eliminate this, SEC is coming up with an initiative to allow investors to regularise their shares bought with different identities into a single account.

Over the weekend, the Director-General of SEC, Mr Lamido Yuguda, received members of the Committee on Identity Management for the capital market in Abuja and he described identity theft as a fraudulent practise of using another person’s name and personal information to obtain shares, credit and loans, among others.

He added that the commission decided to engage relevant stakeholders in a bid to resolve issues of identity management to tackle the problem of unclaimed dividends.

According to him, the problem of unclaimed dividends has to do with identity management, hence, the efforts to harmonize various databases of investors and facilitate data accuracy in the market as well as increase investors’ education to stem the trend.

Mr Yuguda, who expressed satisfaction with the work of the committee so far, added that stakeholder engagements would commence in earnest to ensure the success of the project.

While thanking the members of the panel for lending their support and resources to the project, he also expressed confidence in the success of the scheme that it would build a greater Nigeria and impact unborn generations.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the team, Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, commended the agency on the recent release of Rules on Issuance, Offering Platforms and Custody of Digital Assets, saying that it was a step in the right direction.

Mr Aig-Imoukhuede said the committee’s work had exposed the need for standardization of systems within the Nigerian capital market that would support Open Finance which the SEC can drive, adding that the SEC could leverage on the committee to develop the framework for the Nigerian capital market.

According to him, “The committee had clearly defined the task ahead in a roadmap and also identified that the project would be carried out in stages supported by a consultant with recourse to the SEC on a regular basis.

“The committee is committed to ensuring that the customer journey for investors is such that would cause a revolution in the Nigerian capital market, thereby making our market attractive to the tech-savvy and younger generation.”

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Economy

LBS, NowNow Unveil Financial Literacy Initiative

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NowNow financial literacy initiative

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A financial literacy initiative designed to drive financial inclusion growth in Nigeria has been unveiled by the Lagos Business School (LBS) and NowNow, a leading African B2B and B2C fintech company.

The LBS is embarking on this project through its Sustainable Inclusive Digital Financial Services (SIDFS). The fintech will use this programme to ensure smart financial planning and reach its customers, especially those who do not have bank accounts.

“We strongly believe that financial inclusion should be complemented by financial education. In this regard, we are excited to partner with the SIDFS of the LBS to provide financial literacy directly to Nigerians.

“Our partnership with SIDFS is critical to moving the financial inclusion needle to ensure citizens have the necessary knowledge and skills to use financial services,” the Partnership Director of NowNow Digital Services, Mr Lekan Akinjide, stated.

The Programme Lead at SIDFS, Olayinka David-West, disclosed that; “Since 2016, LBS’ Sustainable and Inclusive Digital Financial Services has supported the financial services ecosystem with rich evidence-based insights, particularly about women, youths, and rural dwellers, who are the most excluded groups.

“Research shows that financial literacy is a driver of financial inclusion and providing financial education can produce outstanding results in the quest to integrate excluded people into the formal financial system.

“We are excited to work with NowNow to improve financial literacy among Nigeria’s most excluded demography and look forward to the impact and outcome of our collective efforts.”

The LBS, with the support from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, launched the Sustainable Digital Financial Services Project in Nigeria in 20152016.

The initiative engages in research and advocacy projects with the goal of creating an inclusive ecosystem for financial services and understanding.

The SIDFS supports the development and promotion of sustainable solutions to Nigeria’s financial inclusion challenges and helps more Nigerians access financial services.

In partnership with SIDFS, NowNow will adapt the content into an easily digestible format for specific audiences. The fintech company aims to bridge the gap between the banking system and the unbanked population by providing educational content through different channels to raise awareness and establish financial inclusion.

NowNow’s mission is to deliver best in class financial services to SMEs, banking agents and consumers, and provide financial empowerment to Africans. The long-term partnership would be in phases with the initial offering focused on women before expanding to youths and then to other sub-categories.

The strategy to focus on women at the initial stage is informed by the statistics that they form a greater percentage of the financially excluded groups and are more excluded from the formal sector in comparison to the other groups.

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