Africa Oil Corp. has received its sixth dividend from Prime Oil and Gas B.V. ("Prime").
Prime has distributed a US$75.0 million dividend with a net payment to Africa Oil of US$37.5 million related to its 50% shareholding. The Company intends to apply US$23.8 million of this dividend to reduce the outstanding balance of the BTG term loan to US$141 million. The Company has received a total dividend amount of US$200 million since the closing of the Prime acquisition on 14 January 2020.
Keith Hill, Africa Oil's President and CEO, in a message to the Company's shareholders commented:
"Prime has performed very well during what has been one of the most challenging years for our industry. As well as its dividend distributions, I am also pleased to see Prime deleveraging its balance sheet. It has reduced its RBL debt by $522 million or 29% of the principal amount at the start of the year. I am also happy to report that Africa Oil will reduce its corporate term loan by US$109 million or 44% of the original amount by the end of this year, once payment from this latest dividend is applied. We plan to fully repay this loan next year well before the January 2022 maturity date.
As we look forward to the new year there is increasing optimism for the global economy to emerge from the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, and for a sustained recovery in the energy markets. We have put the Company in a strong position to benefit in this recovery phase, with our high-quality producing assets supporting our growth opportunities. These include our indirect interest in Block 11B/12B, offshore South Africa. Luiperd discovery was a tremendous exploration success this year, and together with last year's Brulpadda discovery, the project is now transitioning from exploration to commercialization. This success is a great endorsement of our focused regional exploration strategy. We are now looking forward to the drilling of Venus-1 well offshore Namibia in 2021, which will target one of the largest submarine fan plays ever tested by the industry.
We are also working closely with the Government of Kenya and our JV partners to progress the South Lokichar development project. Despite the delays, the Board and I are confident there is significant potential in this project and our objective for the next year is to deliver a robust field development plan for a very modest expenditure, which is possible considering the significant amount of work already carried out.
It has been a tremendously difficult year for everyone, and while we are quite hopeful for a full recovery in the New Year, we will continue our policy of hope for the best but plan for the worst with respect to the economy and resultant oil price. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our shareholders for their continuing support and to wish you all a happy festive period."