Austin-Avuru

Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc has assured its shareholders to expect better days because the huge investments it has made in its operations would lead to significant growth and greater returns for its shareholders.

Austin Avuru, chief executive officer of Seplat, gave this assurance in Lagos on Tuesday, June 2 at the company’s Annual General Meeting. Avuru explained that the company, which had invested over $300m in its operations, had made significant progress with its gas commercialisation strategy. He said: “We are now operating in midstream by processing natural gas and crude oil development and delivery into the market. We have successfully made efforts in our gas development strategy by expansion of our gas processing facility in Oben. Seplat will take advantage of this to boost revenue from gas in 2015 and in the coming years.

“The new 150MMcfd Oben gas processing facility will take overall gross production capacity at the company’s assets up 300MMcfd in 2015 and the company intends to grow this further to at least 450 MMscfd by end 2017.”

Avuru added that the company’s pioneer status was fully utilised, particularly in the gas business where over $300m was invested. Seplat’s investments in oil business quadrupled its production from just about 14,000 barrels per day to over 70,000 barrels. “So, there are benefits for all parties, including government that has had to earn much higher values for royalties and our partners that have also had to earn much higher income from our increased production. We have also increased supply of gas into the domestic market and into our power sector. So, really, we applied because we were qualified and we were granted like others. In addition to this we utilised it in a very exemplary manner to the benefit of the economy at large and to the benefit of all our stakeholders,” he said.

Avuru explained that Seplat declined from the proposed merger with Afren it would not serve the best interest of its shareholders. “Particularly because we didn’t have an opportunity to have the kind of engagement we wanted with the creditors to Afren… We thought that unless we have fruitful and full engagement with the creditors, it will not be in our interest and in the interest of shareholders to go ahead,” he said.

The Chairman, Seplat, Dr. Ambrosie Orjiako, assured shareholders that the future is bright for the company. He promised that the board of directors is fully committed to the protection of interests of the shareholders, “through compliance with all aspects of best practice as set out in the United Kingdom Corporate Governance Code and the Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance.”

Dike Onwuamaeze

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