Interview with Dr A.B.C Orjiako, SEPLAT Q: SEPLAT is one of the leading indigenous Nigerian oil exploration and production companies; can you tell us a bit about the history of the company? SEPLAT is an independent company with a strategic focus on Nigeria. It was founded in 2009 to facilitate the acquisition of the oil mining licenses (OMLs) from Shell, Total and ENI. In 2010, it became the first Nigerian company to takeover assets that were originally owned and operated by an international oil companies (IOC’s). We hit the ground running and have grown exponentially from inception. The company has increased its production and reserves year-on-year and our revenues and net profit have grown each year since we commenced operations. Our production levels have maintained a remarkable growth trajectory, rising from a gross operated oil production of 14,000 barrels per day at inception to our current daily crude oil production of over 60,000 barrels per day. We have also grown our reserves from gross 2P reserve of 168 million barrels of oil to its current levels of about gross 220 million barrels. On the backbone of the Nigerian government gas revolution of gas to power, we have grown and monetised our gas and are looking that in the near future, gas should contribute 20% of our bottom line. The OMLs have a combined proven and probable reserve in excess of 500 million barrels of liquid hydrocarbon and gas reserves in excess of 1.6TCF. In 2013, Newton Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of SEPLAT reached an agreement with Pillar Oil to acquire a 40% working interest in the Umuseti/Igbuku Fields. Throughout our history, we have managed to engage the communities very effectively. To continue to nurture these relationships, we are fully focused on proactive engagement of the local communities and implementation of community projects based on sustainable development principles. We are committed to very clear growth strategy, one of it being to organically grow our assets adding value to increase production, increase cash flows, profitability, solid and robust balance sheet. Secondly to accretively acquire assets that will add more barrels to our current reserves. To be able to drive this very ambitious but achievable growth, we decided in 2011 that this company should be listed dually on the Nigerian and London Stock Exchanges. We accomplished this in April 2014 and became the first company to do this. We also became the first Exploration and Production Company to be listed in Nigeria Stock Exchange. We continue to operate from a strong platform of significant potential growth and are trailblazers in these achievements. Q: What are the advantages of being listed in London? Can you think of other companies who are likely to follow suit? The big advantages are global recognition and access to investable equity capital and international investors base. We are now positioned as an entity for better quality investment. Today, Seplat represents a vehicle for wealth creation for Nigerians and global investors. We have opened a window of opportunity for other African companies to follow. Q: With regards to your experience with community relations, what advice would you give to companies looking to invest in Africa? First of all, you have to understand your operations from the viewpoint of the local communities and approach this stakeholder group recognising what would benefit and affect them. An engagement strategy should be developed from the outset and it is important to build a mutual partnership in which the community can trust. This is what we call the ‘SEPLAT Model”. At SEPLAT, we have provided clean water, school and a number of other necessary amenities that are essential to the local communities. We also have implemented several social impact programs within the communities such as ‘Safe Motherhood’ – an educational/awareness campaign and antenatal care for expectant mothers; “Eye can see” - an optical screening and treatment of persons with impaired vision, and we offer scholarships to disadvantaged youth, in addition to skill acquisition training for youths. Q: At the Global African Investment Summit, a number of governments will be presenting bankable projects to London’s financial community. How can governments secure the required funding? Governments have to link their policies to an improved investment climate in their nations. Potential international investors have their fears, and to abate these, governments need to be transparent, pro-development and consistent. Q: Finally, in the last decade we have seen an increase of funds and finance coming outside of the West, such as Turkey and China. Are there any clear risks and opportunities in these partnerships? Africa needs mutually beneficial partnerships that will ensure wealth creation, job creation for the youth. There is the risk of perpetrating dumping of finished goods in Africa, if the partnership is not structured properly. There are enormous opportunities in fostering symbiotic relationships that will encourage industrial growth, increased productive and prosperity in Africa.
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