These Allegations Are Spurious, Vindictive Reactions To Board’s Enforcement Of Corporate Governance Standards – Seplat Energy
… Seplat Energy Board unanimously passes a vote of confidence in Mr. Brown as the CEO
Seplat Energy Plc reports that on March 9, 2023, it was served with court processes and ex-parte Interim Order of the Hon Justice C. J. Aneke of the Federal High Court, Lagos, Nigeria, restraining the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Roger Brown from participating in the running of the Company for a period of 7 days.
The Board believes these allegations are a spurious and vindictive reaction to the Board’s enforcement of corporate governance standards and a determination to continue to uphold their fiduciary duties and loyalty to the Company. The Board of Seplat Energy has unanimously passed a vote of confidence in Mr. Brown as the CEO.
The interim orders are premised on allegations of unfair, prejudicial, and offensive acts by the Chairman, CEO, and all of the Independent Non-Executive Directors (INEDs) of Seplat Energy.
The allegations include that the CEO organised a site visit for a number of its major shareholders to the Company’s operations, cancelled some catering and landscaping contracts, and introduced a new job performance rating.
Seplat Energy refutes the allegations and notes that since Mr. Brown became CEO in 2020, Nigerian nationals have been appointed to the company’s most important positions, including Chairman, Senior Independent NonExecutive Director, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Operating officer.
The Order allows the Chairman, Mr. Basil Omiyi, and all the INEDs of Seplat Energy to continue running the affairs of the Company on the basis that it is in accordance with Nigerian law. Mr. Brown has delegated authority to Mr. Samson Ezugworie, Chief Operating Officer, to act as CEO during the period that he is required to step back from his executive duties.
The injunction was filed by Messrs. Moses Igbrude, Sarat Kudaisi, Kenneth Nnabike, Ajani Abidoye, and Robert Ibekwe, who purport to have shares in Seplat Energy Plc. Seplat will follow the due processes of law in responding to the allegations before the courts. At the same time, the Company will continue to maintain its operational excellence and act in line with the best corporate governance standards.
This announcement is made pursuant to Rule 17.10 of the Rulebook of the Nigerian Exchange, 2015 (Issuer’s Rule).
Responsibility for publication
This announcement has been authorised for publication by Mr. Basil Omiyi, Independent Chairman / Dr. Charles Okeahalam, Senior Independent Director, on behalf of the entire Board of Seplat Energy PLC.
Interview: ‘At Seplat Energy We Prioritise Our People, Safety And Stakeholder Value’ – Omiyi
DURING SEPLAT ENERGY PLC’S 10TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING MEDIA PARLEY, THE CHAIRMAN OF SEPLAT ENERGY PLC, MR. BASIL OMIYI, CON BARES HIS MIND.
Rashidat Okunlade Writes
What would you attribute Seplat Energy’s very impressive 2022 full year business performance to?
Seplat Energy’s strategy is enabled by strong corporate governance and risk management, and built upon the values of safety, integrity, partnership, ambition, and agility.
In 2022, against a challenging environment of oil theft and outages on our export routes, the Company averaged 24,735 barrels of liquids a day for export and 112.3 MMscfd of processed natural gas for domestic power generation.
Also, higher global oil prices offset the impact of prolonged outages at the Forcados export route, which affected our oil exports in the third quarter of 2022. However, the long-awaited Amukpe-Escravos Pipeline finally came onstream to provide an alternative export route for our key assets.
Therefore, our cash generation was strong, as high oil prices offset lower production in 2022, depicting a huge value creation for all stakeholders.
Seplat Energy, in the 2022 business year, finalised the New Energy investment plan, and identified near-term opportunities for consideration and FID by late 2023. Can you throw more light on this?
Our New Energy investment plan is aimed at achieving a world-class capability in renewable energies, through the development or acquisition of new skillsets that open up new and profitable markets.
We have completed evaluation studies and finalised a ten-year integrated Gas and New Energy Investment Plan. Near-term opportunities we have identified in gas-to-power and solar energy will be subject to technical and business evaluation assessments, environment and social impact assessments, and project licensing, and we expect to move to FID before the end of 2023.
The key investment opportunities being considered include selective entry to off-grid power generation using gas-fired generation integrated with solar. Natural gas will be the mainstay of our energy transition programme and this, in turn, will ensure the sustainability and financial viability of the renewables programme.
We are also pursuing carbon offset possibilities on a wide range of emission reduction activities in various global carbon markets. The identified opportunities have considered advancement in technology, availability of resources within Nigeria, and feasibility of execution.
For the 2022 full year, the Board recommended a special dividend of US5.0 cents per share in addition to final dividend of US2.5 cents per share. What was the rationale behind this?
A special dividend of 5cents was declared for 2022 following elevated realized oil prices and liquidity growth in the year. Furthermore, Seplat’s liquidity projections for 2023 remain positive given current oil price expectations.
The company has maintained a strong safety culture, recording just one LTI in October 2022 while LTIF for the full year is 0.12. What did Seplat Energy do differently in 2022?
I have to reemphasize that at Seplat Energy, we prioritise safety, which is a matter of both individual and collective responsibility.
As an energy company, we work in high-risk and sometimes challenging environments which puts a premium on safety, integrity, fairness and transparency. We aim to treat all those who work for us with respect and to develop the skills of our people. We believe this approach helps us manage and mitigate risks to our business.
The safety of all our employees, contractors, and local communities is a non-negotiable feature of our business. We continued to embed HSE imperatives across our operations; furthering our goal of an incident- and injury-free workplace, we have a mandatory ‘Safety Rules’ programme which guides all our personnel and stakeholders in delivering a safe working environment for all.
For instance, during the year, we implemented an EMP for the Amukpe Buffer Storage Tanks project. The overall goal of the EMP for this project was to minimise impact of various phases of the project activities on the environment, meet statutory obligations, and ensure safety of personnel and members of the public, while maintaining the economic and corporate goals of the company.
As Chairman of the Board, what is your message to all stakeholders given the Company’s very promising future?
As we progress on our journey to a more sustainable future, Seplat Energy will continue to evolve our business to develop a low-cost, lower-carbon, profitable, resilient, and diversified portfolio that will help us thrive in the globally transiting energy market. We remain committed to providing accessible and affordable energy. To this end, our business continues to demonstrate joint consideration of our people, the planet, and profits across all our operations
Continuous engagement with stakeholders is an integral part of our day-to-day business. Their support is a fundamental component of our ability to operate. The Board and senior leadership team recognise the need to invest in our relationships with stakeholders to deliver the Company’s goals. Through regular engagements, a variety of channels, and mechanisms, the company is able to understand the views of all stakeholders and integrates them in our decision-making process. Importantly, we use stakeholder engagement to help us identify and prioritise issues most material to the business.
The ANOH Gas Processing Plant is 95% mechanically complete, awaiting third-party infrastructure completion. What will be your message to investors?
I want to assure our investors that, once completed, ANOH will deliver two income streams for Seplat Energy: from OML 53’s wet gas sales to the plant, and from dividends returned to Seplat Energy from the joint venture ANOH Gas Processing Company, which will operate the plant. The upstream development, including the drilling of six production wells, will be delivered by the upstream unit operator SPDC. We expect the drilling of ANOH-03 and ANOH-04 by SPDC to be completed in Q2 2023.
We are a trusted partner to the Nigerian Government and other operators in the region. Our ANOH gas processing plant project is classed as strategically important for Nigeria, for which we are a leading supplier of gas for domestic power.
NGIC has confirmed that they expect the OB3 pipeline to be complete before the end of Q2 2023. Line pipes for the 23km spur line are in country and project completion is almost 70%, with the revised completion date communicated by NGIC as 30 June 2023. Despite estimated completion for the pipeline infrastructure being Q2 2023, we have further risked the completion dates and have moved the first gas to the final quarter of 2023.
Can you share the company’s roadmap as a sustainable energy business following the Board of Directors’ Succession Forward Plan announced on 25 April 2023?
As a Board, succession planning is a priority. Our approach to succession planning is not that of a box ticking exercise or a ‘nice to have.’
Our Board Succession Policy provides for selection criteria which accounts for current and future needs of the Company and its stakeholders, and that promotes diversity of thought. We recognize that a diverse board is better prepared for challenges that could arise and enables the Seplat Board in its ability to leverage different perspectives and think outside of the box; as opposed to a homogeneous board, which is likely to miss out on crucial elements of expertise and experience.
When considering candidates, the following qualities and competency elements are of prime importance to us – candidates who have proven experience in leading large, complex, international organisations. Such candidates would have had – significant experience in cost leadership; ability to balance the transformational changes that Seplat needs to make against the timing of these changes, particularly as the Company implements its energy transition objectives; demonstration of ability to implement the Company’s climate change agenda; and an understanding of the energy market.
Seplat Energy has commenced implementation of a roadmap to achieving net zero by 2050. Do you want to speak to this?
Our Flares Out project, which forms part of our commitment to achieving Net Zero by 2050, is on schedule to reach our target of ending routine flares by the end of 2024. In 2022, improvements in performance of the AG compressor in Oben and Amukpe, alongside regular asset integrity checks and other facility improvement activities, were effective and AG flare volume was reduced by 18.2% at Oben (5.7 MMscfd against 6.97 MMscfd in 2021) and by 39.9% at Amukpe (1.1 MMscfd against 1.83 MMscfd in 2021).
The Sapele Gas Plant (AG solution) with installed capacity of 40 MMscfd achieved mechanical completion in December. The AG solution is expected to process c.26 MMscfd and will make a significant contribution to flared gas utilisation, reducing emissions and carbon intensity.
In addition, we acquired an LDAR system at our Oben Gas Plant and trained 40 employees on use of the technology, which has enabled detection of invisible leaks and allowed our in-house O&M team to act promptly.
Our diesel replacement programme seeks to increase the use of gas, a less carbon intensive fuel for power generation and where feasible, solar power is also being considered. We are piloting solar at our Amukpe warehouse to power equipment on site and plan to power the security outposts located around our operations using solar energy in 2023.
Work is ongoing to spin out a Midstream Gas business in line with PIA provisions. Can you share the level of progress made in Seplat Energy with regards to this?
In line with the provisions of the PIA, we believe the Midstream Gas business could achieve a higher value when operated as a separate, standalone unit, independent of our Upstream business. This will unlock new value for the Company and increase returns for stakeholders. An implementation roadmap for the spin-out opportunity has been developed and the process is expected to take 12 to 18 months, subject to regulatory approval and stakeholder engagement.
We will continue to align our business to the new strategy that was announced in mid-2021, advancing the development of the Pillar 2 Midstream Gas business and making the necessary decisions to realise the spin-off of the gas business from the Pillar 1 Upstream business.
Also, the Power & New Energy team developed a long-term business plan for the Pillar 3 Power & New Energy Business. Both initiatives will drive long-term prosperity for Seplat Energy and all its stakeholders as we diversify and transition towards producing energy in multiple forms and for a much wider customer base both at home and abroad.
Beyond our existing Midstream Gas business, we are looking at ways to combine gas with power generation, including from renewables, and in the longer term look to develop new lines of business for gas, such as bottled gas for domestic or automotive use.
Dangote Refinery Will Generate $21billion, To Employ Over 100,000 Youths
Rashidat Okunlade Writes
Amid encomium from eminent personalities, which included President Mohammadu Buhari and five other African heads of state, President of the pan-African Conglomerate, Dangote Industries Limited (DIL), Aliko Dangote disclosed yesterday that the newly commissioned 650,000pbd refinery would employ over 100,000 Nigerians youths as well as generate over $21 billion, therefore saving the country huge forex, that would have been used for fuel importation. The company, according to him, now has over 33,000 employees.
Much to the excitement of Nigerians, Dangote said the commissioning has marked the beginning of the new journey of self-sufficiency in refined petroleum products and exportation of the same just as been achieved in Cement and lately fertilizer.
Dangote lamented that the current fuel crisis has had negative impact on the nation’s economy and that informed his decision to build a world-class refinery that would change the trend and that though faced challenges but decided to trudge on.
He highlighted events leading to his firm deciding to build its own refinery after his attempt to acquire one of the existing moribunds did not materialize noting that he decided to change marketing strategy and settle for gigantic projects ever undertaken by an individual world over.
According to him, the refinery plant would be run at the highest effective and efficient level for maximum benefits to all Nigerians noting “We will replicate what we achieved in cement and fertilizer by attaining self-sufficiency and becoming a net exporter.
Dangote assured Nigerians that 40 per cent of the production capacity will be available for export with the coming on stream of the plant guaranteeing raw materials for plastic, and pharmaceutical industries.
In his remark, President Buhari congratulated Dangote Group, saying “the 650,000 barrels a day of crude which will enable our country to achieve self-sufficiency in refined products and even have some supplies for export saying the government and people of Nigeria are proud of the doggedness and tenacity of Dangote as entrepreneur.
Said he; “This feat at this time of the nation’s economic development clearly made this event a notable milestone for our economy and the game changer for the downstream petroleum products not only for Nigeria but the entire African continent. Dangote Group has helped transform our economy from heavy import dependence to a net exporter in some critical industries, including cement and Fertiliser.”
He noted that the economy which has been stressed for many decades by huge deficits in economic infrastructure and over a decade of insurgency has also been severely impacted by several external crises, including the global financial crisis, the collapse of world crisis the Coronavirus pandemic and the Russia Ukraine war.
“The consequences of these challenges constitute a severe strain on our economy and limiting government’s ability to provide basic infrastructure without resorting to borrowing. Government therefore decide to focus attention on creating an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive and fill the enormous gap in investments not only in infrastructure, but also in all critical sectors.
“We recognize that without active participation of the private sector and a strong commitment to public-private partnership, the economy will not be able to continue to meet the challenge and economic growth”, while expressing the hope that the coming administration will continue to apply such innovative schemes to accelerate the fruition of critical infrastructure, in particular roads and gas pipelines.
Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele while commending Mr. Dangote for the successful completion of the refinery project said it would not only aid that nation’s domestic petrol needs, but also help in generating export revenues for our country.
Emefiele recalled; “In September 2013, when Alhaji Aliko Dangote announced his plans for the refinery, it was estimated to cost about US$9 billion, of which US$3 billion was projected as equity investment by the Dangote Group and the balance financed through commercial loans. Due to an array of factors, the project was eventually completed with a total of US$18.5 billion with funding distributed into 50 percent equity investment and 50 percent debt finance. I am proud to state that the commercial loan component of the project was financed majorly by our domestic banks with the balance sourced from foreign banks. The Central Bank of Nigeria also partnered, as always, with the Dangote Group in ensuring the successful completion of the project by providing about N125 billion, to cover domestic currency requirements for the venture.
“What you may not be fully aware of, Your Excellencies, is that the Dangote Group has started repaying some of the commercial loans even before the commissioning of this facility. This reflects the commercial capability of the Group and its Chairman. I am pleased to inform everyone today that, following extensive repayments, outstanding debt has dropped appreciably from over US$9 billion to US$3 billion.”
The CBN Governor commended Nigerian banks saying they did not only partnered with the project through effective financing but were keenly aware of the importance of the project for our nation. “They provided immense support and exceptional understanding, even when interest payments and principal repayment had fallen due.”
He described the successful completion of the refinery to President Buhari’s astute vision to ensure that Nigeria produces what Nigerians consume and that we consume what we produce. “The refinery and petrochemical project by the Dangote Group is a testament to your vision for Nigeria. It shows that, regardless of what the world thinks, Nigeria can be self-sufficient in all products that we consume and at the same time export our excess output to the rest of the world.”
“Aside from enumerating our strategic efforts in agriculture and other critical sectors, a sterling project that we highlighted was the gigantic Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical project. The world doubted our willpower to succeed with this project. In hindsight, I could appreciate their skepticism because they do not understand how a single individual could build a refinery capable of serving an entire nation. To them, projects of this magnitude are usually only undertaken by sovereigns, not individuals.”
Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPC), Mele Kolo Kyari said the NNPC was happy to partner with Dangote Refinery because the project has the potential for smooth supply of petroleum and it would guarantee healthy competition for the benefit of the nation’s economy.
He said the NNPC Ltd. was committed to value addition to the potentials of the project noting that the new Petroleum Industry Act will provide security of supply of refined products and protect the plant. The NNPC boss added that he was happy the refinery is coming on board at a time the subsidy on imported products has become unbearable for the government.
In their respective goodwill messages, Presidents of Ghana, Senegal, Niger, Benin Republic, and Chad expressed satisfaction that the Dangote Refinery will serve the West African region and that their countries would be beneficiaries saying the Dangote Refiner is an African company for Africa by an African entrepreneur.
Buhari, 5 African Presidents To Commission Dangote Petroleum Refinery Today
Rashidat Okunlade Writes
In an epoch-making event that will positively transform Nigeria’s oil and gas sectoral landscape, President Muhammadu Buhari will today commission Dangote Petroleum Refinery & Petrochemicals, the world’s largest single train refinery in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos; alongside his counterparts from Ghana, Togo, Senegal, Niger, and Chad.
Promoted by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, the petroleum refinery with a capacity to process 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) is sitting on 2,635 hectares of land located in Dangote Industries Free Zone in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, and will provide employment to over 100,000 persons. The coming onstream of the gigantic project is expected to mark Nigeria’s exit from the league of oil-rich nations that are heavy importers of petroleum products.
Expected at the historic event apart from international dignitaries are the Presidents of Togo, Gnassingbé Eyadéma; Ghana’s Nana Akufo-Addo; President of Senegal, Macky Sall; President of Niger Republic, Mohamed Bazoum, President of Chad, Mahamat Déby and a host of ambassadors
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, who will not be physically present, will present his goodwill message virtually.
As at the time of filing this report, all the 36 state governors and most of the governors-elect, ministers, senators, and captains of industries in Nigeria and others from outside the country, global oil traders, top international bankers, international multilateral agencies have indicated their readiness to grace the ceremony.
Nigeria’s President-Elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu whose administration as the governor of Lagos in 2002 floated the Free Trade Zone in Ibeju-Lekki where the Refinery is located, is expected to be at the event.
The commissioning of Dangote Petroleum Refinery is significant given that it is the first time that a refinery of such magnitude built by an individual is being commissioned.
Dangote’s petroleum refinery is expected to meet the needs of Nigerian consumers and those in neighboring countries while allowing for exports beyond the African continent. The refinery will drive the promotion of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as over 50 countries in the trade bloc depend on imported refined petroleum products.
According to the Facts Sheet on Dangote Petroleum Refinery, the new Refinery can meet 100% of the Nigerian requirement for all refined products (Gasoline, 53 million litres per day; Diesel, 34 million litres per day; Kerosene, 10 million litres per day, and Aviation Jet, 2 million litres per day) and also have surplus of each of these products for export.
“The refinery is designed for 100% Nigerian Crude with flexibility to process other crudes. It has self-sufficient marine facility with ability for freight optimisation, and the largest single order of 5 SPMs anywhere in the world. Diesel and Gasoline Products from the refinery will conform to Euro V specifications.
“The refinery design complies with World Bank, US EPA, European emission norms, and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) emission/effluent norms. State-of-the-art technology. Designed to process large variety of crudes including many of the African Crudes, some of the Middle Eastern Crudes and the US Light Tight Oil,” the Facts sheet added.
It also stated: “65 Million Cubic Metres of sand dredged costing approximately Euros 300 million, using the world’s largest, the second largest and the tenth largest dredgers to elevate the height by 1.5 metres, to insure against any potential impact of the increase in mean sea level due to global warming. Bought over 1,209 units of various equipment to enhance the local capacity for site works.
“332 cranes to build up equipment installation capacity. Built the world’s largest granite quarry to supply coarse aggregate, stone column material, stone base, stone dust & material for breakwater. (10 million tonnes per year production capacity).
“Developed a port and constructed two quays with a load-bearing capacity of 25 tonnes/ sq metres to bring Over Dimensional Cargoes close to the site directly. The company also constructed two more quays in the port with a capacity to handle up to Panamax vessels to export fertilizer and petrochemicals and two quays to handle liquid cargoes. The port will thus have 6 quays, including a Roll-on/Roll-off quay”, the sheet added.
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