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HomeBusinessAt PwC’s stakeholders’ forum, marginal oilfield licence winners counsel on financial options

At PwC’s stakeholders’ forum, marginal oilfield licence winners counsel on financial options

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Leading professional services firm, PwC Nigeria, held its oil and gas stakeholders forum with the theme: ‘Marginal Oilfield Licence: After Winning, What Next?’ The event was attended by oil and gas industry stakeholders.

The Partner, Energy, Utilities & Resources and Africa Oil and Gas Leader, Pedro Omontuemhen in his opening remarks, said; “We organised this event at a pivotal moment in the industry. Several new marginal oilfield licence holders who won the recent bid round are keen on moving ahead quickly in the journey to first oil.

“We aim to foster collaboration by bringing established industry operators to share their experiences and discuss best practices to enable the new players to succeed.

“Developing a marginal oil field is a capital-intensive project. Post the euphoria of winning, the next focus for new marginal oil field operators is to figure out how to achieve first oil production quickly whilst setting up a sustainable structure. We have financiers, producing marginal operators and other stakeholders in the room to provide insights on how to achieve this objective.”

Industry stakeholders who attended the PwC Oil and Gas Stakeholders’ Forum include: the Executive Commissioner, Economic Regulation and Strategic Planning, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Kelechi Ofoegbu; the Executive Vice Chairman, ND Western Limited, Layi Fatona; the Head Client Relations, Anglophone West Africa, AfreximBank, Peter Olowononi; the Managing Director and Co-founder of Subdrill Services Limited, Aysha Abba; the Head, Energy & Natural Resources (Corporate Banking), FBN Quest, Emuobo Ayoade.

Also speaking, the Executive Commissioner, Economic Regulation and Strategic Planning, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Kelechi Ofoegbu who represented the Chief Executive Officer of NUPRC, Gbenga Komolafe emphasised that the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) is phasing out the Marginal Field regime with the objective of equalising all oil and gas producers in Nigeria.

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The NUPRC is willing to support any innovative financing arrangements that the industry is evaluating and mediate any disputes among licence holders.

Sharing his experience as an established operator, the Executive Vice Chairman, ND Western Limited, Layi Fatona advised new marginal oilfield awardees to manage their cost profile and focus on long-term success.

He said partnerships are vital to achieving first-oil production in a timely manner. He advised marginal operators to prioritise human capital development and strategic partnerships.

The Head Client Relations, Anglophone West Africa, AfreximBank, Peter Olowononi noted that based on clearly defined risk management policies and procedures, the standard practice is to finance projects that are producing oil and gas.

However, Afrexim Bank recently adopted a different approach by working with some marginal field operators on a guarantee-backed facility based on technical expertise provided by competent oil service companies along with the equity contributed by the awardee.

The Managing Director and Co-founder of Subdrill Services Limited, Aysha Abba highlighted the need for marginal field licence holders to demonstrate the commercial viability of their crude reserves in order to attract finance.

Going the extra mile by working with reserve evaluators to generate a Competent Person’s Report (CPR) can make a huge difference when seeking for finance or strategic partnerships. She recommended using industry-recognized experts to prepare field development plans, evaluate financing options etc.

Other additional takeaways include:

  • Stakeholders highlighted the need for a regulation that provides clarity and certainty to the burning issues facing marginal field companies;
  • With the difficulty in sourcing funds internationally, marginal field companies are urged to focus on local market to raise finance
  • Marginal field companies should ensure the Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) to be adopted for their operations are structured in a tax and regulatory optimal manner; and

Marginal field operators should incorporate an ESG action plan into their operations to ensure easy access to scarce international funding.

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