VANCOUVER, BC, May 12, 2022 /CNW/ - (TSX: AOI) (Nasdaq-Stockholm: AOI) – Africa Oil Corp. ("Africa Oil", "AOC" or the "Company") is pleased to announce its financial and operating results for the three months ended March 31, 2022. View PDF version.

Highlights

  • Venus-1X exploration well makes a significant light oil discovery on Block 2913B, offshore Namibia. AOC has a 6.2% interest through its investment in Impact Oil and Gas Limited.
  • Q1 2022 net income of $45.6 million (Q1 2021: $38.9 million) and end of quarter cash balance of $140.6 million (December 31, 2021: $58.9 million).
  • The Company paid its maiden semi-annual dividend of $0.025 per share (approximately $11.9 million) to its shareholders. This is the initial step in delivering on the Company's commitment of returning capital to the shareholders.
  • The Corporate Facility was amended to provide the Company with a stand-by line of liquidity of $100.0 million, available for general corporate purposes, including acquisitions, until end 2022.
  • Prime drew down a further $150.0 million under its pre-export finance facility ("PXF Facility"), increasing the outstanding balance to $300.0 million and further extending the duration of its debt profile.
  • The Company received one dividend from its shareholding in Prime, totaling $100.0 million1.
  • Selected Prime's results net to Africa Oil's 50% shareholding*:
    • Average daily W.I. production of 25,400 boepd and economic entitlement production of 27,400 boepd (83% light and medium crude oil and 17% conventional natural gas) in Q1 2022 (Q1 2021: 26,200 boepd and 30,100 boepd respectively)3,4,5;
    • Cash position of $265.7 million and debt balance of $501.0 million at March 31, 2022; Robust Net Debt to EBITDAX6 for the twelve months ended March 31, 2022, of 0.4x (twelve months ended December 31, 2021: 0.4x);
    • in Q1 2022, EBITDAX6 of $122.2 million (Q1 2021: $143.4 million); and
    • in Q1 2022, cash generated from operating activities of $116.6 million (Q1 2021: $78.8 million)7.

Africa Oil President and CEO Keith Hill commented: "I am pleased to report another strong quarter of operating and financial results. We received our largest dividend payment from Prime to date for $100 million. This takes our total dividend receipts to $500 million since our acquisition of a 50% interest in Prime in January 2020 for $520 million. Also, our share of Prime's cash at end of first quarter 2022 of approximately $266 million, compares to about $70 million at the time of the acquisition. Prime's performance, that includes achieving positive reserves replacement ratios for the last two years, has exceeded all our expectations. However, I view the news of the Venus light oil discovery as the most important and exciting update in the first quarter of this year. Most immediately, we can look forward to the high-impact Venus appraisal drilling program and the Gazania exploration well, both of which are expected to commence later this year. We also have further prospectivity on Block 3B/4B, which we operate with a 20% interest and on Impact's Orange Basin Deep Block, both are in Orange Basin and on trend with the Venus discovery."


* Important information: Africa Oil's interest in Prime is accounted for as an investment in joint venture. Refer to Note 2 on page 4 for further details. Please also refer to other notes on page 5 for important information on the material presented.


2022 First Quarter Financial Results
(Thousands United States Dollars, except Per Share and Share Amounts)


March 31, 2022

December 31, 2021

Cash and cash equivalents

140,607

58,885

Total assets

1,029,380

991,618

Short-term debt

-

-

Long-term debt

-

-

Total liabilities

43,832

43,560

Total equity attributable to common shareholders

985,548

948,058








Three months ended

Three months ended


March 31, 2022

March 31, 2021

Share of profit from investment in joint venture

51,005

48,814

Share of profit/ (loss) from investment in associates

2,733

(885)

Total operating income

53,738

47,929

Net operating income

46,789

44,206

Net income

45,608

38,920

Net income per share - basic

0.10

0.08

Net income per share - diluted

0.09

0.08

Weighted average number of share outstanding - basic ('000s)

475,090

472,147

Weighted average number of share outstanding - diluted ('000s)

485,113

475,011

Number of shares outstanding ('000s)

477,141

473,252




Cash flows used in operations

(4,780)

(3,401)

Cash flows provided by/ (used in) investing

99,332

(2,338)

Cash flows used in financing

(12,812)

(5,288)

Total change in cash and cash equivalents

81,722

(11,039)




Total change in equity

37,490

27,923

The financial information in this table was selected from the Company's unaudited consolidated financial statements for the three months ended March 31, 2022. The Company's consolidated financial statements, notes to the financial statements, management's discussion and analysis for the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021, and the 2021 Report to Shareholders and Annual Information Form have been filed on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) and are available on the Company's website (www.africaoilcorp.com).

FINANCIAL POSITION AND EARNINGS

The Company recognized a total operating income of $53.7 million and net income of $45.6 million during the first quarter of 2022. The operating income primarily relates to the Company's share of profit from its investments in Prime amounting to $51.0 million.

The Company ended first quarter 2022 with cash of $140.6 million in comparison to cash of $58.9 million at the end of 2021. The Company has no outstanding debt. During first quarter 2022, Prime paid one dividend for $200.0 million with net payment to Africa Oil of $100.0 million, related to its 50% shareholding interest. Since the acquisition of a 50% shareholding in Prime in January 2020 for $519.5 million, the Company has received 11 dividends from Prime for a total amount of $500.0 million, representing 96% of the closing purchase price has been returned in less than two years.

On January 31, 2022, the Company announced that all lenders to its Corporate Facility had approved increasing the available amount to $100.0 million from the then unutilized amount of $62.0 million, and extending the availability period to December 31, 2022, from May 13, 2022. The Corporate Facility maturity date of May 13, 2024, and interest margins were unchanged.

On February 28, 2022, the Company announced that its Board of Directors had declared an initial aggregate annual dividend of $0.05 per share (approximately $24.0 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 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.

PRIME'S FIRST QUARTER 2022 PERFORMANCE

Prime's first quarter 2022 average daily W.I. production was 25,400 boepd and economic entitlement production was 27,400 boepd (83% light and medium crude oil and 17% conventional natural gas), net to Africa Oil's 50% shareholding in Prime. These compare to first quarter 20215 average working Interest production of 26,200 boepd and economic entitlement production of 30,100 boepd (83% light and medium crude oil and 17% conventional natural gas), net to Africa Oil's 50% shareholding in Prime.

During the first quarter 2022, Prime was allocated 5 oil liftings with total sales volume of approximately 5.0 million barrels or 2.5 million barrels net to Africa Oil's 50% shareholding. These volumes only represent Prime's share of cost and profit oil, with its share of tax oil lifted and sold on its behalf by the operators to settle its tax liabilities.

Prime achieved an average realized oil price of $68.8/bbl in Q1 2022 (Q1 2021: $58.1/bbl) including hedging.

Prime achieved first quarter 2022 sales revenue of $204.4 million (Q1 2021: $162.2 million8); EBITDAX of $122.2 million (Q1 2021: $143.4 million) and cash flow generated from operating activities of $116.6 million (Q1 2021: $78.8 million7), in each case net to Africa Oil's 50% shareholding.

During the first quarter 2022, Prime increased its PXF Facility on the back of the approval by the PXF lenders received last year and drew down a further $150.0 million, increasing the PXF Facility amount and outstanding balance to $300.0 million. The PXF Facility is arranged by Shell Western Supply and Trading Limited and Africa Finance Corporation and has a 7-year tenor, extending the duration of Prime's debt profile on very competitive cost terms that are comparable to Prime's reserves-based lending ("RBL") facility.

As at March 31, 2022, net to the Company's 50% shareholding, Prime had $265.7 million of cash and debt of $501.0 million (as at December 31, 2021 - $258.9 million of cash and debt of $508.4 million).

The debt outstanding has decreased slightly following gross repayments on the RBL Facility of $164.8 million which net off a drawdown on the PXF Facility of $150.0 million. Net to the Company's 50% shareholding, the overall debt has reduced by $7.4 million during Q1 2022. The next repayment under the RBL facility will not occur until September 2022. The PXF repayments will also begin in September 2022.

As at March 31, 2022, Prime has a Net Debt of $470.6 million (as at December 31, 2021 - Net Debt of $498.9 million) and a Net Debt/EBITDAX of 0.4x for the twelve months ended March 31, 2022, (0.4x for the twelve months ended December 31, 2021) as Net Debt and EBITDAX remained similar. The strength of this ratio demonstrates the low leverage of Prime compared with industry peers. This strong Net Debt/EBITDAX ratio, combined with the full repayment of the Company's Corporate Facility in 2021 means the Company and Prime are well placed to raise more debt in the future if required. Net Debt/EBITDAX is a non-GAAP measure and a reconciliation is performed in Note 6 on page 5.

OUTLOOK

Performance of the Company's investment in Prime has continued to exceed expectations with strong cash flows, dividend distributions and very modest investments on the upstream assets, offshore Nigeria. Higher oil prices and a strengthening outlook for the oil markets support increasing capital investments to arrest production declines and monetize undeveloped assets, such as the Preowei field, a low-risk satellite tie-back project to the Egina Floating Production, Storage and Offloading platform ("FPSO").

The successful drilling and completion of Akpo-P4 infill well, that came onstream late last year and which was ramped up to 6,000 bopd, is very encouraging for the upcoming drilling program on OML 130. The operator is finalizing an extendable one-year rig contract with the plan to drill up to 9 development wells and up to 2 near field exploration/appraisal wells on the current rig schedule, with the drilling expected to commence at end of Q3 2022. Processing of the 2021 Egina 4D seismic survey is ongoing and is helping to confirm the final well locations. Up to 3 development wells are expected to be completed on the asset by the end of this year, with further infill drilling or near field exploration/appraisal expected after the completion of the first 3 infill wells on Egina. The rig will move to Akpo upon completion of the Egina drilling campaign.

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. 

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, 2022. 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. The Company's management expect the Venus appraisal drilling program to commence later this year providing shareholders with potentially high impact catalysts.

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. 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 19.8% 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.

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.

NOTES

1.         Prime does not pay dividends to its shareholders, including Africa Oil, on a fixed pre-determined schedule. Previous number of dividends and their amounts should not be taken as a guide for future dividends to be received by Africa Oil. Any dividends received by Africa Oil from Prime's operating cash flows will be subject to Prime's capital investment and financing cashflows, including payments of Prime's RBL principal amortization, which are subject to semi-annual RBL redeterminations.

2.         The 50% shareholding in Prime is accounted for using the equity method and presented as an investment in joint venture in the Consolidated Balance Sheet. Africa Oil's 50% share of Prime's net profit or loss will be shown in the Consolidated Statements of Net Income and Comprehensive Income. Any dividends received by Africa Oil from Prime are recorded as Cash flow from Investing Activities. The guidance presented here is for information only.

3.         Aggregate oil equivalent production data comprised of light and medium crude oil and conventional natural gas production net to Prime's W.I. in Agbami, Akpo and Egina fields. These production rates only include sold gas volumes and not those volumes used for fuel, reinjected or flared.

4.         Net entitlement production is calculated using the economic interest methodology and includes cost recovery oil, tax oil and profit oil and is different from working interest production that is calculated based on project volumes multiplied by Prime's effective working interest in each license.

5.         Q1 2021 comparative figures have been revised from those previously reported to ensure comparability and consistency of calculation as a result of a change in the conversion factor (to 6 Mcf:1bbl from 5.8:1bbl) used in converting gas production to barrels oil equivalent.

6.         Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Impairment, Depreciation, Amortization and Exploration Expenses ("EBITDAX") is not a generally accepted accounting measure under International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS") and does not have any standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS and, therefore, may not be comparable with definitions of EBITDAX that may be used by other public companies. This is used by management as a performance measure to understand the financial performance from Prime's business operations without including the effects of the capital structure, tax rates, DD&A, impairment and exploration expenses. Non-IFRS measures should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures prepared in accordance with IFRS. A reconciliation from total profit (a GAAP measure) to EBITDAX (a non-GAAP measure) is shown below.


Three months ended

Twelve months ended

$'m

March 31, 2022

March 31, 2021

March 31, 2022

December 31, 2021

Per Prime's financial statements





Total profit

102.0

97.6

446.0

441.6

Add back:





Tax

85.2

91.5

453.7

460.0

Finance costs

(12.7)

18.0

69.7

100.4

Finance income

(0.1)

(0.1)

(0.4)

(0.4)

DD&A and Impairment

69.4

79.2

293.6

303.4

Exploration expenses

0.5

0.6

3.8

3.9

EBITDAX

244.3

286.8

1,266.4

1,308.9

Net to AOC's 50% shareholding:





EBITDAX

122.2

143.4

633.2

654.5






7.         Q1 2021 comparative figures have been revised to ensure compatibility and consistency of calculation as a result of a change in the classification of items between cash generated from operating activities, cash used in investing activities and cash used in financing activities.

8.         Q1 2021 comparative figures have been revised to ensure compatibility and consistency of calculation. Royalties were previously recognized net in Prime's income statement and are now presented gross in both revenue and cost of sales.

9.         All dollar amounts are in United States dollars unless otherwise indicated.

Management Conference Call

Senior management will hold a conference call to discuss the results on Friday, May 13, 2022 at 10:00 (ET) / 16:00 (CET). The conference call may be accessed by dial in or via webcast:

Canada

+1 647 484 0472

North America toll free

800-207-0148

Sweden

+46 (0)8 5664 2754

Sweden toll free

0200 898 697

UK

+44 (0)330 165 3641

Participant Passcode

858894

Webcast URL

https://event.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1549259&tp_key=fea75ba35e

Please join the event conference 5-10 minutes prior to the start time. A recording of the webcast will be available on the Company's website after the event. 

About Africa Oil

Africa Oil Corp. is a Canadian oil and gas company with producing and development assets in deepwater Nigeria; development assets in Kenya; and an exploration/appraisal portfolio in Africa and Guyana. The Company is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and on Nasdaq Stockholm under the symbol "AOI".

Additional Information

This information is information that Africa Oil is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation and the Swedish Financial Instruments Trading Act. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact persons set out above, at 5:30 p.m. ET on May 12, 2022.

Advisory Regarding Oil and Gas Information

The terms boe (barrel of oil equivalent) is used throughout this press release. Such terms may be misleading, particularly if used in isolation. Production data are based on a conversion ratio of six thousand cubic feet per barrel (6 Mcf: 1bbl). This conversion ratio is based on an energy equivalency conversion method primarily applicable at the burner tip and does not represent a value equivalency at the wellhead. Given that the value ratio based on the current price of crude oil as compared to natural gas is significantly different from the energy equivalency of 6:1, utilizing a conversion on a 6:1 basis may be misleading as an indication of value.

Forward Looking Information

Certain statements and information contained herein constitute "forward-looking information" (within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation). Such statements and information (together, "forward looking statements") relate to future events or the Company's future performance, business prospects or opportunities.

All statements other than statements of historical fact may be forward-looking statements. Statements concerning proven and probable reserves and resource estimates may also be deemed to constitute forward-looking statements and reflect conclusions that are based on certain assumptions that the reserves and resources can be economically exploited. Any statements that express or involve discussions with respect to predictions, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance (often, but not always, using words or phrases such as "seek", "anticipate", "plan", "continue", "estimate", "expect, "may", "will", "project", "predict", "potential", "targeting", "intend", "could", "might", "should", "believe" and similar expressions) are not statements of historical fact and may be "forward-looking statements". Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, ongoing uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements, including statements pertaining to the 2022 Management Guidance including production, cashflow from operation and capital investment estimates, performance of commodity hedges, the results, schedules and costs of exploratory drilling activity, uninsured risks, regulatory and fiscal changes, availability of materials and equipment, unanticipated environmental impacts on operations, duration of the drilling program, availability of third party service providers and defects in title. No assurance can be given that these expectations will prove to be correct and such forward-looking statements should not be unduly relied upon. The Company does not intend, and does not assume any obligation, to update these forward-looking statements, except as required by applicable laws. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties relating to, among other things, changes in macro-economic conditions and their impact on operations, changes in oil prices, reservoir and production facility performance, hedging counterparty contractual performance, results of exploration and development activities, cost overruns, uninsured risks, regulatory and fiscal changes, defects in title, claims and legal proceedings, availability of materials and equipment, availability of skilled personnel, timeliness of government or other regulatory approvals, actual performance of facilities, joint venture partner underperformance, availability of financing on reasonable terms, availability of third party service providers, equipment and processes relative to specifications and expectations and unanticipated environmental, health and safety impacts on operations. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.

AFRICA OIL ANNOUNCES STRONG FIRST QUARTER 2022 WITH RECEIPT OF THE LARGEST PRIME DIVIDEND TO DATE AND THE MAJOR VENUS LIGHT OIL DISCOVERY (CNW Group/Africa Oil Corp.)

SOURCE Africa Oil Corp.

Copyright 2022 Canada NewsWire

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