Gulf Keystone Petroleum, a leading independent operator and producer in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq ("Kurdistan" or "Kurdistan Region"), announces its results for the half year ended 30 June 2020.
Jón Ferrier, Gulf Keystone's Chief Executive Officer, said:
"We moved decisively to protect the business and preserve liquidity in response to COVID-19 and the decline in oil prices. We are actively managing the impact of COVID-19 and working to protect our staff. The Shaikan Field continues to perform well with production up more than 25% compared to H1 2019.
While waiting to resume the 55,000 bopd project, the Company has identified a number of simple, low-cost, high-impact investments that have the potential to increase the current base level of gross production by approximately 5,000 bopd and, subject to a satisfactory operating environment, could be implemented in the near-term.
We continue to maintain a tight focus on cost control and further savings will be reflected in the full year results.
With our current measures in place, we are pleased to provide 2020 gross production guidance of 35,000 to 36,000 bopd. With continued improvement in macro and operating conditions, we are well positioned to deliver the long-term potential of the Shaikan Field and look forward to resuming shareholder distributions over time."
Highlights to 30 June 2020 and post reporting period
· Operations at Shaikan continue safely and reliably, with no Lost Time Incidents ("LTIs") reported during 2020.
· The Shaikan reservoir continues to perform in line with expectations, with current gross production of c.36,000 bopd and average 2020 gross production to 1 September 2020 of 36,272 bopd.
· At the time of suspension of investment plans in March 2020, key drilling and facilities activities were on track to achieve the 55,000 bopd target in Q3 2020.
· GKP is preparing to return to production growth, and has identified a number of quick payback projects, which are expected to increase gross production by c.5,000 bopd for an aggregate gross cost of c.$3 million. Planning is ongoing and, subject to a satisfactory operating environment, could be implemented in the near-term.
· The Company remains committed to operating sustainably. Throughout the pandemic, the Company has continued to actively support the communities around Shaikan and has donated essential equipment to nearby hospitals.
· H1 2020 revenue of $49.9 million (H1 2019 - $95.6 million) and Adjusted EBITDA of $27.5 million (H1 2019 - $59.0 million) resulted from the decline in oil prices, partially offset by increased production. Such factors combined with increased depreciation, depletion and amortisation ("DD&A") due to production growth drove a loss after tax of $33.1 million (H1 2019 - $24.2 million profit).
· Opex per barrel in H1 2020 was $2.6/bbl, below guidance of $2.7 - $3.1/bbl. Operating costs and general and administrative ("G&A") expenses savings of 12% contributed to expense reductions compared to H1 2019, and further savings are expected in H2 2020 with the significant reduction in activity and continuing focus on cost control.
· Net capex in H1 2020 was $38.5 million. H2 2020 net capex is expected to be minimal, comprised principally of long-lead time deliveries that will expedite the eventual restart of growth activities. Full year net capex is expected to be within the original $40-48 million guidance range.
· To protect cash flows, Gulf Keystone hedged c.70% of its H2 2020 net production at a floor price of $35/bbl while retaining full upside exposure.
· In Q1 2020, the Company completed the second tranche of its share buyback programme bringing total 2019 and 2020 capital distributions to $99 million.
· Since March 2020, the Kurdistan Regional Government ("KRG") has paid for the last five months of oil sales in the following month as per its commitment to international oil companies ("IOCs").
· The Company has a strong balance sheet with $140 million of cash at 2 September 2020 and no debt repayment until mid-2023.
· As previously announced, Jón Ferrier, CEO, has informed the Board of his intention to retire from the Company upon appointment of a successor and after a period of handover. The search process for a new CEO is underway.
· The Company announced the re-appointment of Garrett Soden to the?Board of GKP?as a Non-Independent Non-Executive Director representing funds managed by?Lansdowne Partners Austria GmbH.
· After successfully managing the impacts of COVID-19 over the last several months, the Company is pleased to provide 2020 gross production guidance of 35,000 bopd to 36,000 bopd.
· GKP is well positioned to restart its drilling programme to achieve 55,000 bopd when circumstances permit.
· In line with its stated growth strategy, GKP continues to progress growth opportunities at Shaikan and will also consider potential value accretive inorganic options on an opportunistic basis.
· The Company remains in a constructive dialogue with the KRG and will continue to seek the timely settlement of the overdue November 2019 to February 2020 invoices totaling $73.3 million (net). The KRG has committed that with the continuing improvement in the price of dated Brent above $50/bbl outstanding arrears will be reviewed.
· GKP remains committed to maintaining its strong financial position and, as conditions continue to improve, returning to a balance of production growth and shareholder distributions.