EnQuest Chief Executive, Amjad Bseisu, said:
“We made good progress against our strategic objectives in 2021, concluding three acquisitions, refinancing our senior secured debt facility, generating significant free cash flow of $396.8 million and reducing our year end net debt to $1,222.0 million, its lowest level since 2014. We have made strong progress on emissions reduction, which continues to be a focus for the Group.
“We have also started 2022 well, with production to the end of February averaging 50,408 Boepd, towards the top end of our full year guidance range. We have also continued to reduce our net debt, down to $1,090.0 million at the end of February, in line with our strategic priorities. With a supportive oil price environment and an active programme of nine wells and seven workovers in 2022, our largest sanctioned programme since 2014 and our first new wells in over two years, we remain confident on delivering a good performance this year.
“The acquisition of Golden Eagle has strengthened our portfolio, building on our track record of value creation through innovative, disciplined M&A. The acquisitions of Bressay and Bentley have added almost 250 MMboe of 2C resources, adding to those already in place at Magnus, Kraken, PM8/Seligi and PM409, providing EnQuest with longer-term potential development opportunities.
“We remain focused on continuing to reduce our net debt while selectively investing in our low-cost, quick payback well portfolio in order to sustain our production base.
“EnQuest’s business is strongly positioned to play an important role in the energy transition. We will do so by responsibly optimising production, leveraging existing infrastructure, delivering decommissioning and exploring new energy and decarbonisation opportunities.”
- Group net production averaged 44,415 Boepd1 (2020: 59,116 Boepd)
- Revenue and other operating income of $1,320.3 million (2020: $855.1 million) and adjusted EBITDA of $742.9 million (2020: $550.6 million) reflects materially higher oil prices, partially offset by lower production
- Cash generated from operations was $756.9 million (2020: $567.2 million)
- Cash expenditures of $117.6 million (2020: $173.0 million); cash capital expenditure of $51.8 million (2020: $131.4 million) and cash abandonment expenditure of $65.8 million (2020: $41.6 million)
- Strong free cash flow generation2 of $396.8 million (2020: $210.5 million)
- Cash and available facilities amounted to $318.7 million at 31 December 2021 (2020: $284.1 million), with net debt reduced to $1,222.0 million (2020: $1,279.7 million)
- Statutory reported profit after tax was $377.0 million (2020 (restated): loss after tax of $469.9 million)
Significant business development
- Successfully completed the acquisition of a 26.69% non-operated interest in the producing Golden Eagle area in October, for an initial consideration of $325.0 million; a highly cash generative asset providing significant value enhancement through the addition of c.18 MMbbls to year end 2021 net 2P reserves and c.3 MMbbls to net 2C resources
- Completed purchase of 40.81% equity interest in the Bressay heavy-oil field for an initial consideration of £2.2 million, adding c.115 MMbbls of net 2C resources
- Completed purchase of 100.0% equity interest in the P1078 licence containing the proven Bentley heavy-oil discovery, adding c.131 MMbbls of 2C resources
- Jonathan Swinney has notified the Board of his intention to step down from the Board as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director at a date to be determined in due course (see separate announcement)
2022 performance and outlook
- Year to date February production averaged 50,408 Boepd, in line with full year guidance
- Net debt amounted to $1,090.0 million at 28 February
- Hedges in place for c.8.6 MMbbls of oil with an average floor price of c.$63/bbl and an average ceiling price of c.$78/bbl
- Full year average net Group production expected to be between 44,000 and 51,000 Boepd
- Full year operating costs of c.$430 million
- Cash capital expenditure of c.$165 million, with cash abandonment expenditure of c.$75 million
2021 performance summary
During the year, EnQuest strengthened its portfolio through the Golden Eagle acquisition and, supported by an improving oil price environment, generated material free cash flow enabling the Group to simplify its balance sheet and further reduce net debt. The Group also made good progress on its decommissioning programmes, significantly reduced Scope 1 and 2 CO2 equivalent emissions and established an Infrastructure and New Energy business to explore renewable energy and decarbonisation opportunities.
Production of 44,415 Boepd reflected a strong performance at Kraken and the contribution from Golden Eagle following completion of the acquisition, offset by topside and well integrity related outages at Magnus, planned maintenance and a subsea power umbilical failure at the Greater Kittiwake Area (‘GKA’) and expected natural declines across the portfolio. The natural declines were to a large extent a consequence of the necessary pause in the Group’s drilling programme following materially lower oil prices experienced in 2020 and into 2021.
Adjusted EBITDA, cash generated by operations and free cash flow were $742.9 million, $756.9 million and $396.8 million, respectively, with the material increase from 2020 primarily reflecting higher market prices. Cash capital and abandonment expenditures totalled $117.6 million Capital expenditure of $51.8 million primarily reflected the Magnus production enhancement campaign and the PM8/Seligi riser replacement. Cash abandonment expenditure of $65.8 million was focused on decommissioning activities at Heather, Thistle and the Dons.
Liquidity and net debt
At 31 December 2021, net debt was $1,222.0 million, down $57.7 million from $1,279.7 million at 31 December 2020 with a net debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio of 1.6x. Strong free cash flow generation of $396.8 million enabled the payment of $249.7 million cash consideration for the Golden Eagle acquisition and repayment of the BP vendor loan and Sculptor Capital facility, simplifying the Group’s debt structure. During the year, EnQuest successfully refinanced its senior credit facility (‘RCF’) into a new senior secured debt facility (‘RBL’) of up to $750.0 million. The strong free cash flow generation also resulted in a lower than expected drawdown on the Group’s RBL facility, and facilitated an early voluntary repayment of $70.0 million prior to the year end. At the end of December, the RBL facility was drawn to $415.0 million. Total cash and available facilities were $318.7 million, including restricted funds and ring-fenced funds held in joint venture operational accounts totalling $191.4 million.
As at 28 February 2022, net debt was $1,090.0 million, down a further $132.0 million from 31 December 2021, reflecting strong free cash flow and positive working capital movements. As at the date of this announcement, the Group had made further early voluntary repayments of its RBL facility totalling $85.3 million, with the amount drawn down reduced to $329.7 million. EnQuest is targeting progress towards a net debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio of 0.5x.
In January 2021, the Group completed the acquisition of a 40.81% equity interest in and operatorship of the Bressay oil field. This acquisition provides a low-cost addition of 115 MMbbls (net) 2C resources. The initial consideration was £2.2 million, payable as a carry against 50% of Equinor's net share of costs from the point EnQuest assumed operatorship.
In July 2021, the Group completed the acquisition of the 100.00% equity interest in the P1078 licence containing the proven Bentley heavy-oil discovery from Whalsay Energy Holdings Limited ('WEL'). This discovery, which has added 131 MMboe (net) 2C resources, is within c.15 kilometres of the Group's existing Kraken and Bressay operated interests, offering further long-term potential development opportunities and other synergies. Upon completion, EnQuest funded certain accrued costs and obligations of WEL, which amounted to less than $2.0 million.
In October 2021, the Group completed the acquisition of a 26.69% non-operated interest in the producing Golden Eagle area from Suncor Energy UK, for an initial consideration of $325.0 million. The transaction has added 18 MMboe to net 2P reserves.
Reserves and resources
Net 2P reserves at the end of 2020 were c.194 MMboe (2020: c.189 MMboe) and have been audited on a consistent basis with prior years. During the year, the Group produced 8.2% of its year-end 2020 2P reserves base but this was more than offset by the acquisition of Golden Eagle, which resulted in an addition of c.18 MMboe. Net 2C resources were c.402 MMboe (2020: c.164 MMboe), an increase of 145.1% compared to the end of 2020 primarily as a result of the acquisitions of equity interests in the Bressay field and Bentley discovery, which combined added 246 MMboe.
Environmental, Social and Governance
The Group has made excellent progress in reducing its absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions during the year, with CO2 equivalent emissions reduced by 14.7%, reflecting operational improvements and increased workforce awareness driving lower flaring, fuel gas and diesel usage. Since 2018, UK Scope 1 and 2 emissions have reduced by 43.5%, which is significantly ahead of the UK Government’s North Sea Transition Deal target of achieving a 10% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 CO2 equivalent emissions by 2025 and close to the 50% reduction targeted by 2030.
The health, safety and wellbeing of our employees is our top priority. Despite the challenges and uncertainties of 2021, the Group’s Lost Time Incident (‘LTI’) performance remained relatively stable with a Group LTI frequency1 of 0.21 (2020: 0.22), slightly better than the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers benchmark of 0.22.
With respect to COVID-19, the Group remains compliant with UK, Malaysia and Dubai government and industry policy. The Group has also been working with a variety of stakeholders, including industry and medical organisations, to ensure its operational response and advice to its workforce is appropriate and commensurate with the prevailing expert advice and level of risk. The changes in general infection rates and associated modifications to processes and controls impacted the execution and cost of some planned activities in 2021. In Malaysia, extended quarantine rules led to significant changes to working rotas and additional costs related to testing and standby rates, while several workscopes were adversely affected by COVID-related impacts on the supply chain. Magnus suffered a seven-day shutdown due to key control room personnel being unavailable due to COVID. The Group is cognisant of the ongoing risks presented by the evolving situation, but at the time of this publication, day-to-day operations in 2022 have not been materially affected.
In February 2021, the Board was pleased to appoint Liv Monica Stubholt as a Non-Executive Director of the EnQuest Board. Liv Monica also became a member of the Audit Committee and the Safety, Climate and Risk Committee. Her appointment builds on the Board’s extensive experience in the energy industry and further strengthens its governance position.
In January 2022, Rani Koya was appointed to the Board as a Non-Executive Director and member of the Technical and Reserves Committee. Rani has worked extensively in major energy companies in a variety of technical, project management and executive management roles across the globe. She is currently the CEO of a renewable energy company.
Jonathan Swinney has notified the Board of his intention to step down from the Board as Chief Financial Officer (‘CFO’) and Executive Director at a date to be determined in due course. Salman Malik, currently Managing Director - Corporate Development, Infrastructure and New Energy and a member of the Group’s Executive Committee, will succeed Jonathan as CFO and as an Executive Director upon Jonathan’s departure.
Philip Holland, currently Chairman of the Safety, Climate and Risk Committee, will be stepping down as a Director at the Company’s 2022 Annual General Meeting. Liv Monica Stubholt will replace Philip as Chair of the Committee in May 2022.
2022 performance and outlook
Group net production averaged 50,408 Boepd for the year to date February. For the full year, the Group’s net production is expected to be between 44,000 and 51,000 Boepd. The infill drilling and workover campaigns at Magnus, Golden Eagle and PM8/Seligi are expected largely to mitigate natural declines at these fields. At PM8/Seligi, the outlook is positive with the acceleration of securing a dive support vessel resulting in the riser being connected ahead of schedule and all the wells now onstream. Extensive maintenance shutdowns are also planned at both Magnus and Kraken. Kraken gross production is expected to be between 22,000 Boepd and 26,000 Boepd (15,500 Boepd to 18,500 Boepd net), reflecting the planned shutdown and natural decline.
At current foreign exchange rates and oil prices, operating costs are expected to be approximately $430 million. The increase versus 2021 includes a full year of Golden Eagle operating costs, planned well workover activities in Malaysia, an enhanced maintenance programme on Magnus and significantly increased emissions and diesel costs as a result of higher market prices.
Cash capital expenditure is expected to be around $165 million, primarily relating to drilling campaigns at Magnus (three wells), Golden Eagle (two wells) and in Malaysia (four wells), as well as preparatory activities ahead of future drilling at Kraken. Abandonment expense is expected to total approximately $75 million, primarily reflecting well P&A decommissioning programmes at the Heather/Broom and Thistle/Deveron fields.
EnQuest has hedged a total of 8.6 MMbbls for 2022 primarily using costless collars, with an average floor price of c.$63/bbl and an average ceiling price of c.$78/bbl. For 2023, the Group has hedged a total of 3.5 MMbbls with an average floor price of c.$57/bbl and an average ceiling of c.$77/bbl.
The Group continues to explore options to refinance its Retail and High Yield Bonds ahead of maturity in October 2023.
Summary financial review of 2021
The Group made good progress on its strategic aims during 2021. Supported by higher oil prices and capital discipline, EnQuest generated strong free cash flow of $396.8 million, up 88.5% compared to 2020, which, along with the signing of a new senior secured credit facility (‘RBL’), enabled the Group to simplify its capital structure, facilitate the Golden Eagle acquisition and reduce overall net debt.
Revenue for 2021 was $1,320.3 million, 54.4% higher than in 2020 ($855.1 million) reflecting the materially higher realised prices partially offset by lower volumes. Revenue is predominantly derived from crude oil sales, which totalled $1,139.2 million, 46.1% higher than in 2020 ($779.9 million), reflecting the significantly higher oil prices, offset by lower production. Revenue from the sale of condensate and gas, primarily in relation to the onward sale of third-party gas purchases not required for injection activities at Magnus, was $244.1 million (2020: $60.5 million), as a result of the significantly higher gas prices.
The Group’s commodity hedge programme resulted in realised losses of $67.7 million in 2021 (2020: losses of $6.1 million). The Group’s average realised oil price excluding the impact of hedging was $73.0/bbl, 75.5% higher than in 2020 ($41.6/bbl). The Group’s average realised oil price including the impact of hedging was $68.6/bbl in 2021, 66.4% higher than 2020 ($41.3/bbl).
Total cost of sales were $900.4 million for the year ended 31 December 2021, 14.6% higher than in 2020 ($785.5 million).
The Group’s operating costs decreased by $7.6 million to $321.0 million (2020: $328.6 million), primarily reflecting reduced tariff and transportation costs due to lower production and realised derivative gains related to emissions allowances. This was largely offset by higher production costs driven by materially higher emission allowances costs, lower lease charter credits reflecting higher uptime at Kraken driven by the continued strong performance of the FPSO and remediation costs at Magnus. Unit operating costs (excluding hedging) increased by 34.9% to $20.5/Boe (2020: $15.2/Boe), reflecting lower production. Unit operating costs including hedging were $19.8/Boe (2020: $15.2/Boe).
Total cost of sales also included non-cash depletion expense of $305.6 million, 30.3% lower than in 2020 ($438.2 million), mainly reflecting lower production.
The charge relating to the Group’s lifting position and inventory was $62.3 million (2020: credit of $34.8 million). This reflects a switch to an $18.0 million net overlift position at 31 December 2021 from a $3.0 million net underlift position at 31 December 2020. The charge for the year is also impacted by the post-acquisition revaluation of the Golden Eagle underlift position.
Other cost of operations of $211.5 million were materially higher than in 2020 ($53.5 million), principally as a result of higher Magnus-related third-party gas purchases following the increase in associated market prices, offset by a partial release of the inventory provision.
Adjusted EBITDA for 2021 was $742.9 million, up 34.9% compared to 2020 ($550.6 million), primarily as a result of higher revenue.
The tax charge for 2021 of $53.7 million (2020: $172.5 million tax credit), excluding remeasurements and exceptional items, is mainly due to the taxable profits generated in the year exceeding the Ring Fence Expenditure Supplement (‘RFES’) on UK activities generated in the year. UK North Sea corporate tax losses at the end of the year decreased to $3,011.0 million (2020: $3,183.9 million).
Remeasurements and exceptional items resulting in a post-tax net gain of $156.7 million have been disclosed separately for the year ended 31 December 2021 (2020: loss of $443.8 million). Revenue included unrealised losses of $54.5 million in respect of the mark-to-market movement on the Group’s commodity contracts (2020: unrealised gains of $8.8 million). Other income included a $140.1 million gain in relation to the fair value recalculation of the Magnus contingent consideration reflecting a forecast reduction in Magnus future cash flows (2020: $138.2 million gain). Other finance costs mainly relate to the unwinding of contingent consideration from the acquisition of Magnus and associated infrastructure and interest charged on the vendor loan of $58.4 million (2020: $77.3 million).
The Group’s reported cash generated from operations for 2021 was $756.9million (2020: $567.2million), primarily as a result of higher revenue. Free cash flow for 2021 was $396.8 million (2020: $210.5million).
Net debt decreased by $57.7 million to $1,222.0 million at 31 December 2021 (31 December 2020: $1,279.7 million). This includes $225.0 million of payment in kind (‘PIK’) interest that has been capitalised to the principal of the facilities pursuant to the terms of the Group’s November 2016 refinancing (31 December 2020: $205.8 million).
In June, the Group announced that it had signed a new RBL of $600.0 million with an additional amount of $150.0 million for letters of credit for up to seven years, subject to the timing of the refinancing of the bonds. Also in June, the Group repaid the outstanding principal and interest on the Sculptor Capital facility from free cash flow.
In July 2021, $360.0 million was drawn down from the Group’s new RBL facility. The proceeds were used to repay the entire outstanding balance on the RCF, which at the time of repayment was $354.5 million, including PIK and accrued interest. Also in July, $58.7 million, representing the full amount of the outstanding principal and interest on the Magnus vendor loan, was repaid and the Group successfully completed an equity raise consisting of net proceeds of $47.2 million.
In October 2021 and following shareholder approval of the Golden Eagle acquisition, a further $125.0 million was drawn down against the RBL to partially fund the $249.7 million cash consideration with the acquisition completing on 22 October 2021. In December 2021, EnQuest made a voluntary early repayment of $70.0 million on the RBL and with further early voluntary repayments totalling $85.3 million made in the first quarter of 2022.