Prior to today's Annual General Meeting ("AGM"), Wentworth, an independent natural gas production company with a focus on Tanzania, is delighted to provide an operating report. After setting a record for production in 2021, Wentworth and its joint venture partners continued to experience high production rates in 2022, averaging 92 MMscf/d year to date. The accompanying joint venture-operated facilities and the five producing wells in the Mnazi Bay field continued to function well and without problems. In addition, compared to recent years, the customary decreases in natural gas consumption during the rainier months of April and May were milder and shorter. The company's forecast for production for the year, given in January 2022, stays at 75 to 85 MMscf/d.
The Government of Tanzania remains positive in their recent announcements regarding their willingness to progress and promote projects of national interest and it is expected that these positive actions will continue to promote further growth potential for the Tanzanian economy.
With the Company's recent agreement to acquire Scirocco Energy plc's 25% interest in the Ruvuma PSA, Wentworth is pleased to report that work on the 338 km2 3D seismic, over the discovery and potential development area, is progressing positively and is intended to provide data critical to the development of the field and to optimize further drilling locations. The operator, ARA Petroleum Tanzania, has indicated that the Chikumbi-1 well will be drilled following the completion of the seismic programme and that first gas from the project is possible by late 2024, following the award of a 25-year development licence and construction of a pipeline connecting the field to the Madimba gas processing facility which is located within the Mnazi Bay licence area. The Company looks forward to updating the market as operations on this transformational new project progress.
Operational Highlights and Outlook
· Average daily production year to date is 92.2 MMscf/day (gross), compared with 79.9 MMscf/day (gross) during the same period in 2021
· Record quarterly average daily production of 98.5 MMscf/day (gross) achieved in Q1 2022
· Wentworth and Mnazi Bay JV Partners supply approximately 50% of natural gas demand in Tanzania which is primarily used for essential baseload electricity but is also expanding to include a multitude of industrial users
· The Mnazi Bay JV Partners continue to progress the 2022 work programme, which is focused on ensuring reliable gas production through diligent field maintenance
· The Operator will conduct essential maintenance during a two-day shut down planned for late June
· The health and safety of the employees at Mnazi Bay remains of paramount importance as is evidenced with our continued efforts to ensure robust health and safety standards. As of 31 May 2022 , the Mnazi Bay operations have reported zero lost time incidents for a period of five years and 301 days
· Evaluation of the Mnazi Bay licence area for additional exploration and production potential is ongoing
· Declared a final dividend in respect of FY 2021 of 1.16 pence per share ( $2.6 million ); a total dividend distribution in respect of 2021 of 1.7 pence per share ( $4.0 million ) representing an increase from 2020 ( $3.8 million ) and a yield of approximately 7.1% (based on current market capitalisation)
· Debt free with cash on hand of $26 million
· TPDC receivable $2.4 million representing 1-month of gas sales (fully current)
· TANESCO receivable $753k representing 6-months of gas sales ( $615k representing 5-months of gas sales in arrears)
· Actively progressing the Company's strategy to diversify the asset portfolio with high quality growth opportunities as demonstrated with the recent Ruvuma acquisition
· Strict commitment to maintain sustainable progressive capital returns
· Continued focus on growth within Tanzania and the broader region by capitalising on a strong operational track record and in-depth local knowledge
· Maintenance of a highly skilled Board and management team
· Progressively engaged with shareholders by providing regular updates and management access
· In light of the COP26 conference in 2021, Tanzania announced its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030. In doing so, the Government cemented its commitment to decreasing its already-limited emissions output and reinforcing incentives for low- carbon energy sources such as natural gas
· Natural gas will play a critical role in meeting a reduction in emissions with reliable baseload electricity helping to further replace carbon -intensive off-grid fuel sources such as heavy fuel oil and diesel
· Ongoing ESG strategy remains a priority following the publication of Wentworth's second Sustainability Report for 2021; it addresses how Wentworth proactively manages its impacts by upholding relevant international standards and adopting a responsible approach to doing business in Tanzania ; the Company is progressing its initiatives with Vitol and the Government of Tanzania on how to best address these goals
Katherine Roe , Chief Executive of Wentworth, said:
"I am delighted that Wentworth has made such a strong start to the year with production, supporting our full year guidance and providing the confidence to announce a further dividend increase and maintain our attractive yield, one of the highest in the independent E&P sector.
"Mnazi Bay continues to provide Tanzania with approximately half of the country's natural gas demand and our contribution to the country's growth will be further enhanced by our recently announced acquisition of a 25% stake in the nearby Ruvuma gas development project.
"Ruvuma is a transformational transaction for Wentworth and represents an attractively priced, low risk entry into a high growth opportunity which cements our position as a leading supplier of domestic gas to Tanzania ."