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Oil and Gas Roundup: Chevron, PIB, Aje Field, Dangote, Crude Oil Contracts

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After two years of pain, the real OPEC, the big boys, Saudi Arabia and Iran decided to act on proposed production cuts, sending prices up the charts. Barkindo’s diplomatic hustle and September’s Algiers consultations have set a tone for the November meeting but there were still doubters, including us. The premise of our doubts was Saudi’s rigid position on Iran’s quota, which was aligned with the toxic Middle Eastern religious and social conflicts of the last few years. At the end, Putin became an influential exogenous element in the game, just like everywhere else these days. An OPEC plus Russia/Non OPEC cut of about 1.5 mm b/d and 600 k b/d respectively may not be steep enough but it’s a crucial move away from the market share strategy of the last two years. Sadly, the impact on the market is not guaranteed for longer.

As we have often emphasized here, the landscape of oil supply has been permanently altered by US shale oil and a global slowdown in demand. US Shale oil production increased by about four (4) mm barrels per day from 2012–2016. That’s like the adding production two times that of Nigeria to the market. More so, the lightning speed of development and downward sloping cost efficiency of the shale oil developers is a specter the industry can’t just roll away. At $45/bbl, much of the operators in the prolific Permian, Marcellus, Bakken fields in the US will break even setting a peg for global oil prices. Wood Mackenzie even suggests that at $52, tight oil could be economical. With the unfettered exports of crude oil from the US, appointments Trump has made — Tillerson in State, Scott Pruitt at the EPA and Perry as Energy Secretary, be rest assured that shale is going to play a much bigger role in the years ahead and global prices may not rise beyond their economical cost. Shale is the new OPEC 2.0

The Surge that changed the world.

Nigeria’s Lost Decade

The Federal Government submitted its latest Medium Term Expenditure Framework on Tuesday and there have not been a few gripes about the optimistic assumptions — 2.2 million barrel per day (mmbopd) and oil price of $42.5/bbl. For us, our grouse is that Nigeria with the 2nd biggest reserves in Africa is stuck at these levels of production. The policy ‘stagnancy’, corruption, myopia and the social-political disruptions of the last decade has caught up with us. Now, the industry is in dire straits. As at August 2016, only five (5) rigs were active in Nigeria. Companies are culling their workforce remorselessly. Payment of half salaries is now a norm. Four years after reaching a peak of 2.6 mmbopd we are struggling with 2 mmbopd. That’s some classic regression.

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We played ourselves big time!!

Why not? The Petroleum Industry Bill/OGIC has been on a mannequin challenge since 2005, subsidy reforms stalled, industry leadership unstable, while the Niger Delta challenge is now a permanent feature. Because we failed to solve these fundamental problems, we are grossly under prepared for the rapid changes in the industry. For every initiative in any sector we fail to implement because of politics or tribal bias, the pain is waiting for all of us.

William Easterly said, “development is a political decision”. That’s why the baby steps in the Seven Big Wins agenda are critical. It’s not politically correct but the fact is that Nigeria is an oil dependent country and would remain so for at least another decade. In fact, you need oil money to diversify from oil. The roads, bridges, trains, silos, broadband infrastructure, sea ports, solar farms, taxes would all be built or underwritten by oil money. That’s why fixing the industry is critical. Nairametrics did a word count of Buhari’s budget speech and ‘oil’ occurred 26 times, more than the next most popular, ‘growth’. The guys at the Ministry of Budget know this fact.

Fixing the industry goes beyond just change in policies but also the deliberate decision by political leadership to exclude the operations of the oil industry, the golden goose, the seedlings, from the epidemic of corruption and incompetence. Politicians must recognise and set red lines for the oil industry. You want to enrich fellow politicians or fund the next elections? Fine, but not by interfering at the operational level, inside the trenches. That is killing the goose, the seedlings. It’s this toxic and unbridled strain of corruption that has severely constrained the industry and Nigeria at large. Most OPEC countries rank low on transparency metrics, are mostly undemocratic but their oil and gas industry still thrives. The leaders/rulers/politicians should have enough foresight to ensure that the industry is allowed to operate professionally. Once politicians cross that red line and start dipping down into the oil companies, it’s downhill. Ask Petrobras. Venezuela is in a biblical scale crisis but their industry is still churning out oil at 4 million bopd, double of ours.

The industry is in dire straits.

Reform. Set a red line. The 7 big wins are a good start but the President must take the lead.

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Trouble in Aje field

You remember the Aje field that made Lagos an oil-producing state, there is some little trouble amongst the owners. Let me explain why. In the oil and gas business, exploration and production of oil development and production is undertaken by many companies sometimes coming together in unincorporated ‘joint ventures’ (JV). It could be two to five companies at anytime. In many of the Joint Ventures in Nigeria, government through NNPC and the International Oil Companies are into JVs. So, if the JV wants to drill a well at the cost of $20 Million, the partners would provide the funds for this well according to their ownership stake. They also share the rewards in that same proportion too.

Seems one of the partners in Aje field, Panoro is contesting some of the planned development activities on the field and refusing to pay its share. Before you say Chinua Achebe, Panoro has resorted to arbitration. We know guys who have been involved in arbitration and we can tell you for free that its onerous and time-consuming. Are they broke?

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Lesson: If you are interested in the oil business, be careful who your partners are. They determine how enjoyable or not the journey is.

Chevron’s ‘Dead Body’

Sometimes in January 2012, Nigeria had its ‘Macondo’ moment when a drilling rig working for Chevron caught fire offshore Nigeria killing three (3) people. It barely made the news and Chevron only got a slap on the wrist, if at all. In fact, if you google about the accident, you will find more resources from foreign sources than domestic. The rig, KS Endeavour kept burning for over 40 days just about 10 kilometres from the coast yet it was grossly under reported. Seems the news was killed in the Nigerian press. Sad.

We understand it was an accident but Chevron could have at least paid for the error as it’s done in saner climes. Thankfully, someone has filed a suit against Chevron in the United States. The case would have gone nowhere in Nigeria. I hope the good people of Bayelsa get a decent compensation for their pain.

Crude Oil Contracts

The bids for lifting Nigerian oil in 2017 were opened in November, 2016. Results should be out any moment. Watch out.

Rosneft Privatisation

It’s difficult not to respect Russia these days. While Saudi-Arabia is still wavering around selling some stake in Aramco, Russia has moved quickly to sell part of its second biggest oil and gas company. Rosneft surrendered close to 20% of itself to the Qataris Sovereign Wealth Fund and Glencore. Putin took the lead in this deal and the next week, Rosneft was on the market buying up another stake in the beautiful bride, Zohr field in Egypt. Now, don’t you love that? All of these with sanctions in place. Note also what the Qatari’s Sovereign Wealth is also being used for. Making investments and buying influence. That is the way of the world.

Nigeria, wyd?

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QatarGas and RasGas

We try to introduce some of the relevant news around the world to this round-up just to provide comparison with ours in Nigeria. Few weeks ago, the proposed sale of government stake in NLNG was hotly debated then it went cold. The LNG industry is challenged and the prospects of growth are not as robust as the past decade. Hub and spot pricing, frontiers in Australia and the US has smothered the possibilities of huge profits. Qatar is the biggest producer of LNG with two companies QatarGas and RasGas. In response to the industry outlook, the government has decided to merge the two companies. Why have two companies for the same objectives? The merge would save costs, improve synergy and also create a monster company.

There is a tide in the affairs of men.

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;

Omitted, all the voyage of their life

Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

On such a full sea are we now afloat,

And we must take the current when it serves,

Or lose our ventures.

Dangote taps the Chinese

Early rumours about Dangote’s Trans Offshore Nigeria Pipeline were that Saipem was billed to handle it. Seems the Chinese got the gig.

Zhù tā hǎo yùn

Treasure Trove for Gas and Power Industry Lovers.

Let us show you guys a treasure trove this week. Click here and you will find tons and tons of presentations you might find useful. Thanks us later.

Big CEO on his way out?

One of our sauces hinted us today that the CEO of a major Nigerian oil and gas company is about to step aside. The company has investments in upstream and midstream gas. Is this a corporate governance necessity or the CEO wants a bigger challenge. We await official confirmation, if this is in any way true.

So much we can take today. See ya next time.

Visit Damola’s Medium Page

Nairametrics frequently publishes articles from experts such as financial analysts, economists, researchers and investors. We also feature articles from guest writers and bloggers who wish to push their views and opinions through our platform. To get your articles on Nairametrics, kindly send an email to [email protected] and we will publish it within 24 hours of approval by our editorial team.

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Julius Berger’s rebound contingent on full economic bounce back

Julius Berger’s construction portfolio includes infrastructure, industry, building, and facility services solutions.

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Expatriates

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the economic impact of the measures put in place to slow the spread of it, many industries have experienced slower growth. The construction industry was not left out. According to reports by GlobalData, the construction output growth forecast for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has been revised to 2.3%, down from the previous projection of 3.3% (as of mid-April) and 6.0% in the pre-COVID-19 case (Q4 2019 update).

The reason for the contraction was noted by GlobalData to be as a result of the global slowdown and the outbreak of COVID-19 in the region. Other factors responsible include economic headwinds such as inflation, spending cuts, widening fiscal slippages, suspension of certain projects and more that could disrupt the construction sector. This contraction is projected to be 4.3% in South and Southeast Asia while France is expected to shrink by 9.4% in 2020.

Leading Construction Company, Julius Berger, had foreseen the contraction in the industry and commenced efforts to mitigate its impact and cushion the blow. One of such efforts was the reduction in dividend pay-out. After initially announcing a dividend pay-out of N2.75K per 50K share for the financial year ended December 31, 2019 and a bonus of 1 (one) new share for every existing 5 (five) shares held, the company eventually recommended a final cash dividend pay-out of N2.00K per 50k share.

It noted that the Group had “carefully considered the emerging social, operational, financial and economic impact of the COVID 19 pandemic, the outlook for Nigeria for the financial year 2020, and the impact on the business and cash flows of the Group.”

The company’s fears have been confirmed by its recent financials which, among other negatives, showed huge foreign exchange losses of N3.102 billion in the first half of 2020.

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Q2 was the hardest

Julius Berger’s construction portfolio includes infrastructure, industry, building, and facility services solutions. With companies and nations alike revising scheduled capital expenses as a result of the shrinkages in product demand (owing to global quarantine measures), uncertainties around supply logistics as well as supply of materials, the company had gotten hit. Q1 had its own issues, but Q2 birthed a new dimension of challenges for the company.

Revenue was down 33% from N68.9 billion in Q2 2019 to N46.1 billion in 2020. There was also a huge loss in profit after tax of around 200% from a profit of N2.3 billion in Q2 2019 to a loss of N2.3 billion and this can be attributed to lower revenue, and increased losses from the company’s many investments.

Exchange difference on translation of foreign operations for the quarter alone increased by 227% to N1.4 billion in Q2 2020 from N438.5 million in the comparative quarter.

Outlook for the company and for investors

The disruptions the construction industry is currently experiencing is expected to continue for the medium-long term. Reports by Beroe Inc., a procurement intelligence firm, reveal major concerns that companies in the industry will witness profits being hurt and may even incur losses on a number of projects.

Companies having worldwide supply chains could see tier 2 and tier 3 suppliers highly affected by disruptions related to the pandemic. Worse off, it explains that construction materials like “steel, wood, plaster, aluminum, glazed partition systems, cement and cementitious products, paints, HVAC equipment, electrical equipment, and light fixtures from China are expected to be delayed.”

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For the company, cost-cutting has never been more important. While there are a series of strategies it could explore to augment the challenges, its growth right now depends largely on the speed of global economic recovery. This is because both the company’s input needs as well as its output in terms of the recommencement of projects, depends on the speed with which business as usual commences and the amount of time it takes for the industry to find a new balance for its operations.

For investors, however, this presents a long term opportunity. Julius Berger currently trades at N15.05, falling 44.26% just within the last 3 months. The share price is also on the downside of its 52-week range (N14.42 and 22.92) and its price-to-book ratio of 0.6331 shows that the stock is undervalued.

While the company’s EPS is currently low at N2.52, investors who are willing to wait the time could find a gem in the stock particularly with the increased infrastructural needs born out of the population expansion which is taking place in many parts of the world in the years to come.

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Total Nigeria caught in the oil demand and lockdown saga

In Q1 2020, the company had recorded a revenue drop of 9.3% to N70.2 billion compared to Q1 2019.

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Total Nigeria caught in the oil demand and lockdown saga

The year 2020 was supposed to be a good one for the global oil and gas industry. Save for the unprecedented fangs of the Covid-19 pandemic, the IEA had forecasted in February that the global oil demand would grow by 825,000 barrels a day in 2020. On the contrary, lockdown measures restraining travel and other economic activities to contain the pandemic in many parts of the world had global oil demand down around 90,000 barrels a day from 2019. While the upstream sector had a direct hit owing to this reduced demand, the impact of the pandemic on the downstream oil industry caused the price of crude oil to fall significantly in a short period of time. GlobalData had forecasted that the energy sector would face downward earnings revisions of 208% in 2020.

READ MORE: Analysis: Total Nigeria needs a financial overhaul

With the pandemic leading to a slowdown in a wide range of business and personal travel, even gasoline demand had reduced and this has led to inventory challenges in both the distribution network as well as the refineries. In Nigeria, following the challenges of the pandemic, the federal government deregulated the downstream sector of the oil industry through the removal of fuel subsidy. While it presents a level playing field for the downstream oil private sector, it didn’t take long before companies like Total Nigeria plc. started caving into the overall reduction in inventory from the reduced demand for oil products in Q2 2020. Consequently, the company witnessed a 45% reduction in inventories from N33.6 billion as at 31st December 2019 to N18.5 at the end of Q2 2020.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s Foreign Trade hits N9.18 trillion in Q3, as non-oil export rose by 374.5%

How the exogenous shocks affected an already ailing Total Nigeria

The success or failure of any organization depends on both the macroeconomic environment as well as the operations of the company itself. For Total Nigeria, the timing for the crisis had been off as it too had operational challenges to deal with. In Q1 2020, the company had recorded a revenue drop of 9.3% to N70.2 billion compared to Q1 2019. While the headwinds of the pandemic might have played a small role in the decline at least in the latter part of the quarter, the loss after tax of N163 million it had recorded was 65.6% better than the loss after tax of the  comparative quarter – a testament of the series of operational challenges it had from huge loans to raging expenses. While the company had set off on a strategic trajectory deploying a series of initiatives around cost efficiency, process optimization, as well as a significant reduction of working capital requirement and finance costs, Q2 had its own troubles waiting.

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Restrictions in the oil market had led to weaknesses across product lines. Total revenue fell by as much as 50% from N73 billion in Q2 2019 to N36.5 billion in Q2 2020. Revenues from petroleum products had contracted by 55.7% while lubricant sales also fell by 26.7% in the quarter. Across the company’s core business sectors comprising Networks, General Trade, and Aviation, revenue from aviation experienced the most decline, falling by 83.0%. Its performance can be predominantly attributed to the fall in demand owing to strict lockdown measures even in major Nigerian cities.

READ MORE: Five oil majors reduce value of their assets by $50 billion in Q2

Outlook

The outcome of the company’s internal and external challenges is a loss after tax of N373.9 million from N604 million in Q2 2019 – an alarming drop of 161.9%. However, its strategic intent is also visible. Net cash balance was a negative N19.6 billion at the end of the quarter, compared to negative N41.8 billion a year ago. Finance costs also declined by 76.1% to N830.3 million as the company sought to reduce its leverage position. In the same vein, borrowings came at N31.0 billion in Q2 2020 as opposed to the N39.9 billion in Q2 2019. Yet, the success of the company in the immediate future is somewhat bleak.

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This is because of the conditions of the oil market and overall economic landscape which is set to take a few years before returning to the norm as well as the financial and operational position of the company. That said, its earnings per share (EPS) of N4.37 and its price-to-earnings ratio of 18.12, reveal that the company has a good potential to make a rebound. However, it could take a few years. Hence, investors must be willing to wait for the long term. With its share price of N79.10 at the far bottom of its 52-week range of N78 and N129.50, it’s a great time to purchase its shares if you are willing to wait the long term.

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Implications of CBN’s latest devaluation and FX unification

This move portends significant implications for Nigeria’s public and private sector.

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Implications of CBN's latest devaluation and FX unification, current account deficit, IMF, COVID-19, CBN OMO ban could give stocks a much-needed boost , CBN’s N132.56 billion T-bills auction records oversubscription by 327% , Nigeria pays $1.09 billion to service external debt in 9 months , Implications of the new CBN stance on treasury bill sale to individuals, Digital technology and blockchain altering conventional banking models - Emefiele  , Increasing food prices might erase chances of CBN cutting interest rate   , Customer complaint against excess/unauthorized charges hits 1, 612 - CBN , CBN moves to reduce cassava derivatives import worth $600 million  , Invest in infrastructural development - CBN Governor admonishes investors , Credit to government declines, as Credit to private sector hits N25.8 trillion, CBN sets N10 billion minimum capital for Mortgage firms, CBN sets N10 billion minimum capital for Mortgage firms , Why you should be worried about the latest drop in external reserves, CBN, Alert: CBN issues N847.4 billion treasury bills for Q1 2020 , PMI: Nigeria’s manufacturing sector gains momentum in November, CBN warns high foreign credits could collapse Nigeria’s economy, predicts high poverty, MPC Member, BVN, Fitch, Foreign excchange (Forex), Overnight rates crash after CBN’s N1.4 trillion deduction, Nigeria’s foreign reserves hit $36.57 billion; Emefiele keeps his word on defending the naira, CBN to support maize farmers, projects 12.5 million metric tons in 18 months

The CBN devalued the naira by 5% at the end of last week, adjusting the official exchange rate to N380/$1  in a major move aimed at unifying the multiple exchange rate windows.

Whilst no official confirmation was issued by the apex bank, its website displayed the buying rate of N379/$1 and selling rate of N380/$1. Nigeria is clearly in a new exchange rate territory.

This move portends significant implications for Nigeria’s public and private sectors. Since March when the CBN last depreciated from N307/$1 to N360/$1, there have been calls for further depreciation to at least close the gap between the official CBN rate and the more market-friendly NAFEX exchange rate. The NAFEX rate has traded between N385-390 in recent weeks.

READ MORE: Manufacturing sector in Nigeria and the reality of a “new normal”

Government Finances

For the federal government, devaluing the naira solves two major issues:

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  • Firstly, it increases the amount available to share from the Federal Allocation (FAAC) between the FG and States.
  • Oil proceeds, which is a major source of revenue sharing for the government is deposited at the CBN and then converted to naira using the official exchange rate of N360/$1. The CBN’s latest devaluation suggests more money for the government as the conversion rate is now N379/$1.
  • Government taxes that are priced in forex but converted to naira also stand to gain a major earnings boost.
  • Custom duties, petroleum profit taxes, and other charges will now be converted at an exchange rate of N379/$1 or whatever new rate the CBN chooses, assuming it will work within the NAFEX band.
  • A second issue the solves is the condition precedent towards obtaining a $3 billion world bank loan. The government applied for a world bank loan as part of its N2.3 trillion stimulus expected to be injected into the economy.
  • It is understood that a unification of the exchange rate is critical to the disbursement of the loan.

Whilst these are positives, the government will record cost escalations for some if not all of its capital projects and expenditure. From vehicle purchases to furniture and fittings we should expect a spike except the contracts are fixed-priced.

READ ALSO: Explained: CBN’s powers to seize bank account of criminals

Private Sector

The impact of the latest devaluation will also be significant for the private sector.

  • While the private sector has recorded its own devaluation via the NAFEX and more recently the SMIS window, the impact of the CBN’s latest move will still be felt.
  • Most private pubic partnership projects, contracts are priced using the CBN official exchange rate. The price will now change to N379/$1 at the least.
  • The latest move could also lead to a reopening of forex sale to BDC’s which the CBN suspended in March as the Covid-19 pandemic ensued.
  • Sectors such as Power, Downstream Oil and Gas where the government has control over pricing will be significantly affected by the new price.
  • An example if fuel prices. With the exchange rate devalued again, fuel prices might increase if the impact of the exchange rate is reflected in the pricing template.

READ MORE: Expert simplifies FIRS’ newly-introduced stamp duty

NAFEX versus Official Rate

It is not clear how the latest round of devaluation affects the NAFEX rate and other separate rates currently in use by the CBN. Whilst the disparity has been closed somewhat, we still do not know if these windows will be retained or if we will just have two major exchange rate windows, the BDC and the NAFEX.

Most critics of the CBN’s forex policy prefer a uniform exchange rate that is floating or under a managed float system. The difference is that the CBN intervenes occasionally to ensure the exchange rate trades within its preferred band. It does this even if it means burning through its thin reserves.

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We expect a string of circulars in the coming days which will perhaps douse some of the confusion providing needed clarity to the exchange rate situation.

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