We are in a financially robust position, the strongest in our corporate history: well capitalised, debt free and with a limited 2021 work programme, Wentworth is continually assessing opportunistic growth opportunities in East Africa that are value accretive for our business.
With energy access rates within Sub-Saharan Africa some of the lowest in the world, we believe there is a significant growth opportunity for Wentworth that will not only drive further value for our shareholders but that will generate meaningful and positive social impact for society at large.
We do not believe in growth for growth’s sake but want to ensure we are prioritising responsible growth that benefits our wider stakeholders through gas to power accessibility and that maintains and increases sustainable returns for our shareholders.
Natural gas plays a critical role in Tanzania’s energy landscape as the low-carbon, transition fuel to deliver universal energy access by 2030.
Working hand-in-hand with zero carbon technologies, such as hydro and solar, natural gas facilitates an enabling environment for the development of a low carbon energy system, ensuring affordable and reliable access to power.
Wentworth’s goal is to minimise the impact of our operations wherever possible. We began developing our ESG strategy during 2020 with a view to enhancing our disclosure around non-financial metrics, such as environmental performance. We are currently working on the production of our inaugural Sustainability Report and look forward to publishing this for shareholders in Q2 2021.
We are committed to being a long-term partner for Tanzania to deliver low-carbon, domestic energy supply growth that will underpin the socio-economic development of the country in the near and longer-term.
Reliable energy access is the foundation of any society and can enable developments such as household electricity for at-home learning and education, the refrigeration of medicine and essential supplies and broader industrial growth.
We will continue to grow our business in Tanzania and be an impactful partner by working with the Government to help achieve its 2030 universal energy access target, aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Before the outbreak of COVID-19, there was mounting pressure for all companies, but particularly those within the oil and gas sector, to improve their disclosure around non-financial risks. This pressure has now intensified in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as companies are called upon to be more transparent, responsible and sustainable.
As previously announced, we began our journey to understanding our societal impact at the beginning of 2020. It is our goal to ensure that Wentworth has robust disclosure around not only those core ESG risks that pose a potential threat to our business, but also to demonstrate, quantifiably, the positive socio-economic impact that our gas production has on Tanzanian communities.
We look forward to publishing our inaugural Sustainability Report in Q2 2021 and continuing to develop our ESG strategy .
The Board has a wide range of experience. All members of the Board have international exposure which is required for Wentworth which operates in Tanzania and is listed in London whilst registered in Jersey. This combined level of industry and international experience contained within a relatively small board enables WEN to achieve its strategic objectives whilst supporting management. The Board as a whole is responsible for determining and implementing the Company’s vision and strategy.
The role of the Chairman is to lead the Board, ensuring sound corporate governance and establishing a strong and sustainable corporate culture of respect, integrity, honesty and transparency.
You can read more about our corporate governance strategy and the role of the Chairman here.
We are an AIM-listed company on the London Stock Exchange and as such require a Board presence in the UK, given regulatory and shareholder obligations. The UK is a leading market for the oil and gas industry and our Board is composed of technical, operational and financial experts with extensive industry experience. Furthermore, we are proud of our blue-chip institutional shareholder base, many of whom reside in the UK.
The Nominations Committee reviews Board composition and succession planning on a regular basis with a view to continually enhancing our governance.
During 2018, the Company transitioned from a Canadian registered and Oslo Børs listed business to an AIM-listed company with a UK base. At that time, the Board was strengthened with the appointment of , two new Independent Directors. During this period of significant transition, we sought to balance the level of change with continuity by retaining the two longest-serving Directors, Mr Bob McBean and Mr John Bentley.
In addition, we took steps to balance the level of executive and non-executive representation on the Board following the appointment of Katherine Roe as Chief Executive Officer.
In 2021, we will continue our journey towards compliance with the QCA Governance Code and, in time, fuller compliance with the UK Corporate Governance Code, including the review of our Board composition. We look forward to updating our shareholders in due course.
As a non-operator, seeking responsible growth through acquisition, it is important that we have the right balance between financial and industry experience within our team.
Across the Management and Board, there is combined industry and capital markets experience averaging over 30 years. This expertise ensures that we are well-placed to effectively manage all operational, technical and financial risks, as well as identify opportunities for Wentworth’s responsible organic and inorganic growth. We may seek to enhance the existing management capabilities with new hires at the right time.
Our production guidance for 2021 has been set at 65 – 75 MMscf/d (gross); however, Mnazi Bay has the capacity to deliver in excess of 100 MMscf/day from existing wells and production facilities, ensuring it is well positioned to supply the expected demand increase over the near-term. Having produced volumes in excess of 100 MMscf/d in December 2020, the Mnazi Bay Joint Venture Partners feel confident in the deliverability of the fiel. Our limited 2021 work programme will allow the field to meet the expected demand growth from increased capacity rates of the existing gas-fired power plants, with the first of these being the Kinyerezi-1 extension.In the longer-term, the Mnazi Bay JV Partners are working towards reaching 130 MMscf/D (gross) pursuant to the long-term Gas Sales Contract.
The power access gap in Tanzania is increasing and transformational growth is needed to deliver universal access through affordable, low carbon solutions. Natural gas will play a critical role in meeting this target to support cheaper and more reliable electricity alongside carbon-free renewable energy systems, such as hydro and solar. Wentworth is committed to being a responsible, long-term partner for Tanzania by delivering domestic energy supply growth that will underpin the socio-economic development of the country whilst creating sustainable returns for our shareholders.
The health and safety of our employees is the priority and robust precautionary measures have been put in place to ensure the continued safety of our staff, with no reported cases of COVID-19 at site.
Mnazi Bay is performing as expected from a world class reservoir and we continue to deliver stable production rates and robust, safe operations. We also benefit from long-term fixed gas prices, where gas is sold to TPDC on a fixed rate contract of $3.28/MMbtu and TANESCO on a fixed rate contract of $5.36/MMbtu.
Production averaged 65.36MMscf/d during 2020, the middle of our guidance range of 60-70 MMscf/day (gross). Despite some reduced industrial demand as a result of COVID-19 related restrictions, we enjoyed increased volumes during H2 2020 through the easing of restrictions.
We have set guidance for 2021 at 65-75 MMscf/d and have seen strong volumes since the beginning of the year. With no operational disruptions due to COVID-19 to date and the capacity to deliver in excess of 100 MMscf/day from existing wells and production facilities at Mnazi Bay, we are well positioned to meet this expected increase in demand.
Our recurring General and Administrative (G&A) costs have been reduced in recent years as management continues to leverage cost synergies derived from the redomicile and restructuring process that took place during 2018.
Management remains committed to ensuring that overheads are continually reviewed and reduced where appropriate, without compromising the operational effectiveness of the Company or negatively impacting its ability to screen and capitalise on new strategic growth opportunities in a cost-effective manner.
Our management team is one of the leanest in our sector having undergone corporate restructuring and management changes over the last few years. Whilst we remain disciplined to continually drive efficiencies, we are committed to ensuring we manage a long-term, sustainable business that is adequately resourced for future growth.
Based on our free cash flow generation and significantly strengthened balance sheet, the Board approved and introduced a sustainable dividend policy in 2019, whilst ensuring an appropriate balance between investment in the business and operating within our debt and banking facilities. As a result, we declared a maiden interim dividend of $1.0 million to shareholders in September 2019 and a second interim dividend of $2.0 million in April 2020, bringing a total distribution of $3.0 million for 2019. We then increased this dividend by 20% y-o-y to declare an interim dividend in September 2020 of $1.2 million. We will be declaring our final dividend for full year 2020 with our Final Results in April 2021.
The strength of our business enabled, not only the ability to maintain our dividend but also to increase the level of capital returned to shareholders, despite the difficult macroeconomic conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic triggering oil price and stock market volatility. We are one of only three AIM-listed E&P companies that has continued to pay a dividend and we remain committed to continuing with our sustainable dividend policy.
As a responsible company, the Board will continually review the dividend policy to ensure we are returning the appropriate level of returns to shareholders whilst also enabling the Company to deliver responsible growth to protect the long-term sustainability of the business and generate further value.
We are in a robust financial position, debt free with a net cash balance at 31 December 2020 of $17.8 million.
We continue to receive consistent monthly payments for gas sales, with TPDC now fully current. The Mnazi Bay Partners are also working with TANESCO to reach settlement of all outstanding arrears.
Given our operating costs are largely fixed, higher production volumes reduce opex/MMscf which ultimately delivers higher margins.
We have set 2021 production guidance at 65-75 MMscf/day (gross). We continue to receive consistent monthly payments for gas sales with payments from TPDC remaining current.
Despite the challenging macro-economic backdrop, there was no change to our limited 2020 work programme and we have also agreed a modest work programme for 2021. We have the capacity to increase production of over 100 MMscf/d from the existing well stock without further capital expenditure.
Over the longer-term, we expect production to increase as we see demand continuing to grow in response to the Government’s ambitious 2030 universal energy target. Our ambition is to continue playing a significant and responsible role in the domestic gas production market in Tanzania and to deliver real social impact for communities through enabling power access whilst ensuring value accretive growth for our shareholders.
Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly created stock market and oil price volatility that has filtered through to Wentworth’s share price, we believe that the delineation from the oil price for in-country domestic natural gas operators in Tanzania is not well understood.
However, emerging from this pandemic we believe that companies will need to be able to demonstrate their resilience to these types of economic shocks in the future and with confident production guidance for 2021, a strong balance sheet and no debt and strong ESG credentials we are confident that our business will not only be resilient to this particular storm but will be able to drive further value for our shareholders by a playing a significant and responsible role in meeting growing energy demand in Tanzania.