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Outlook for Africa’s oil and gas industry improves – PwC report

Outlook for Africa’s oil and gas industry improves – PwC report

Johannesburg – The outlook for Africa’s oil & gas industry is positive amid difficult operating and economic headwinds. Tough economic and external conditions have placed pressure on oil and gas companies to be more cost-effective and efficient. Companies have adopted to a low-cost environment, which promises to be even more beneficial given the current recovering oil price.

These are some of the highlights from PwC’s annual Africa Oil & Gas Review released Tuesday at the 25th Africa Oil Week conference, 2018 held in Cape Town.

“Africa’s oil & gas companies have weathered the downturns and capitalised on the upswings focusing their efforts on new ways of working, reducing costs and utilising new technology,” Chris Bredenhann PwC Africa Oil & Gas Advisory Leader said.

Companies have taken to restructuring their portfolios with a focus on established regions, less exploration, higher value plays with low break-even-cost, and projects with shorter lead times and lower risk. The industry has also renewed its focus on delivering projects on-time and on-budget.

As the oil price is steadily rising towards pre-collapse levels, the outlook for the industry is hopeful. “It is, however, important for companies to avoid falling into the cost inflation trap that could eat into the profitability gains that should follow from the rising oil price. Keeping up capital discipline and further improving productivity will yield sustained results for the industry,” Bredenhann added.

Despite positive developments, the oil & gas industry still faces numerous and persistent challenges around talent shortages, regulatory uncertainty, political instability, corruption and fraud, and a lack of infrastructure.

Notwithstanding the challenges, Africa does offer plenty of opportunities in the form of unexplored hydrocarbon demand fuelled by population growth, urbanisation and the emergence of a growing middle class.

PwC’s Africa Oil & Gas Review, 2018 analyses what has happened in the last 12 months in the oil & gas industry within the major and emerging markets. This edition focuses on the expert opinions of a panel of industry players from across the value chain who share their views of oil & gas in Africa.

At the end of 2017, Africa is reported to have 487.8 tcf of proven gas reserves, 7.1% of global proven reserves, only marginal changes to the prior year. Africa’s share of global oil production has slightly increased by 0. 3% since last year to 8.7% standing at 8.1 million bbl/d. The main contributors continue to be Nigeria, Angola, Algeria and Egypt. Libya also increased its production by 102.9% in 2017, placing it as the fourth-largest oil producer in Africa with an 11% share moving Egypt into fifth position.

Regulatory developments in Africa

Regulatory uncertainty continues to be a major barrier to the development of the oil & gas industry in Africa. Overall, there are some positive developments that demonstrate that governments are reacting to the new environment. Despite some notable improvements around regulation, there is still a high level of uncertainty in a number of jurisdictions.

In South Africa, the proposed Amendment Bill to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) may be withdrawn, and there are plans to split oil & gas from mining formulating separate legislation.

Growth and development

The outlook for the oil & gas industry is looking more optimistic with the Brent oil price having broken through the US$80 mark at the time of compiling our report. Although there has been a significant increase in the number and size of final investment decisions (FIDs) in 2018, the industry is not what it was. New finds are much smaller and leaner than they were in prior years. Deepwater oil has been given preference over gas, and oil fields offering the highest rates of return are attracting investment. There is also a preference for brownfield over greenfield developments.

The current oil price recovery reflects a tight supply and demand balance, as well as an indication that we are heading towards a potential global supply crunch in the early 2020s. Exploration spend in Africa and globally is starting to pick up as well. It is safe to assume that this trend will continue if the current higher price environment is sustained.

Digital disruption in Africa

There have been a number of developments in digital transformation in the oil & gas industry, not only globally, but also in Africa. A number of new technologies have been deployed by the industry across the value chain. Some examples include: the use of drones to inspect remote facilities thereby reducing safety and health risks; the use of robots to undertake monitoring and safety checks, which also reduces the safety risks for human operators; and the use of virtual reality to simulate the drilling of wells remarkably reducing drilling costs. Digital disruption is here to stay, and African companies must embrace this to reap the rewards.

Looking to the future

Africa is the world’s fastest economic region with a growing population that is becoming more urbanised. According to PwC’s Strategy& estimates, Africa’s total energy demand is forecast to increase by 60% to 28 000 trillion btu by 2030.

Based on different potential trajectories for economic development, energy access policy and climate mitigation strategies, researchers have put forward various alternative scenarios for energy production and consumption on the continent in the years ahead.

Hydrocarbons are expected to continue to play a major role in the energy mix that will satisfy Africa’s growing energy needs. Major gas resources on the continent including Mozambique, Nigeria, Angola, Tanzania, Senegal and Mauritania, could augment the key position of gas as an energy source for Africans. In the low-carbon context, gas also plays the role of a transition fuel before a wider switch to renewables, a development which is likely to take longer in Africa than on other continents.

The increase in population and the demand for freight transport will also see an increased demand for liquid fuels. Many African countries are ‘thinking refineries’ at various scales. Countries that are considering new refineries or upgrades include Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Uganda, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Ghana, São Tomé & Príncipe, and Zambia. Given projected population growth and refined fuels consumption, an estimated additional 3.4 bbl/d of refined fuels will be needed to meet Africa’s needs by 2030.

The role of National Oil Companies (NOCs)

The role that NOCs play as operators and custodians of the orderly development of the hydrocarbon industry in their respective countries cannot be underestimated. Almost 30 of Africa’s NOCs are involved at various points of the value chain and at different levels of maturity.

Our analysis delves deeper into the NOC landscape to provide a perspective on the future that NOCs could face. We have identified four potential scenarios along two axes: the level of regulatory stability and the level of diversification within a country’s economy.

These scenarios depict a number of possible future pathways and provide industry players with some options with regard to how they might respond to these potential outcomes and their impact on operations.

NOCs should consider these scenarios to enable them to design strategies that avoid the pitfalls identified.

The African oil & gas industry has been through some difficult years in the wake of the oil price crash. However, the industry has restructured itself and is more competitively placed in terms of operational performance.

“It is critical that the sector retains its capital discipline and adopts digital technologies if the hard-earned wins in cost savings are to be retained. Progress in addressing corruption and improving corporate governance will also need to be maintained. Moreover, in the longer term, the energy transition will continue to impact the sector’s dynamics with implications for oil demand,” Bredenhann concluded. (APO)

About The Author

Sanlam 2018 Annual Results

7 March 2019


Sanlam’s 2018 annual results provides testimony to its resilience amid challenging operating conditions and negative investment markets

Sanlam today announced its operational results for the 12 months ended 31 December 2018. The Group made significant progress in strategic execution during 2018. This included the acquisition of the remaining 53% stake in SAHAM Finances, the largest transaction concluded in the Group’s 100-year history, and the approval by Sanlam shareholders of a package of Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) transactions that will position the Group well for accelerated growth in its South African home market.

Operational results for 2018 included 14% growth in the value of new life insurance business (VNB) on a consistent economic basis and more than R2 billion in positive experience variances, testimony to Sanlam’s resilience in difficult times.

The Group relies on its federal operating model and diversified profile in dealing with the challenging operating environment, negative investment markets and volatile currencies. Management continues to focus on growing existing operations and extracting value from recent corporate transactions to drive enhanced future growth.

The negative investment market returns and higher interest rates in a number of markets where the Group operates had a negative impact on growth in operating earnings and some other key performance indicators. This was aggravated by weak economic growth in South Africa and Namibia and internal currency devaluations in Angola, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

Substantial growth in Santam’s operating earnings (net result from financial services) and satisfactory growth by Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM) and Sanlam Corporate offset softer contributions from Sanlam Personal Finance (SPF) and Sanlam Investment Group (SIG).

Key features of the 2018 annual results include:

Net result from financial services increased by 4% compared to the same period in 2017;

Net value of new covered business up 8% to R2 billion (up 14% on a consistent economic basis);

Net fund inflows of R42 billion compared to R37 billion in 2017;

Adjusted Return on Group Equity Value per share of 19.4% exceeded the target of 13.0%; and

Dividend per share of 312 cents, up 8%.

Sanlam Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ian Kirk said: “We are satisfied with our performance in a challenging operating environment. We will continue to focus on managing operations prudently and diligently executing on our strategy to deliver sustainable value to all our stakeholders. The integration of SAHAM Finances is progressing well. In addition, Sanlam shareholders approved the package of B-BBEE transactions, including an equity raising, at the extraordinary general meeting held on 12 December 2018. Our plan to implement these transactions this year remains on track.”

Sanlam Personal Finance (SPF) net result from financial services declined by 5%, largely due to the impact of new growth initiatives and dampened market conditions. Excluding the new initiatives, SPF’s contribution was 1% down on 2017 due to the major impact that the weak equity market performance in South Africa had on fund-based fee income.

SPF’s new business sales increased by 4%, an overall satisfactory result under challenging conditions. Sanlam Sky’s new business increased by an exceptional 71%. Strong growth of 13% in the traditional individual life channel was augmented by the Capitec Bank credit life new business recognised in the first half of 2018, and strong demand for the new Capitec Bank funeral product. The Recurring premium and Strategic Business Development business units also achieved strong growth of 20%, supported by the acquisition of BrightRock in 2017. Glacier new business grew marginally by 1%. Primary sales onto the Linked Investment Service Provider (LISP) platform improved by 5%, an acceptable result given the pressure on investor confidence in the mass affluent market. This was however, offset by lower sales of wrap funds and traditional life products.

The strong growth in new business volumes at Sanlam Sky had a major positive effect on SPF’s VNB growth, which increased by 7% (14% on a comparable basis).

Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM) grew its net result from financial services by 14%. Excluding the impact of corporate activity, earnings were marginally up on 2017 (up 8% excluding the increased new business strain).

New business volumes at SEM increased by 20%. Namibia performed well, increasing new business volumes by 22% despite weak economic conditions. Both life and investment new business grew strongly. Botswana underperformed with the main detractor from new business growth being the investment line of business, which declined by 24%. This line of business is historically more volatile in nature.

The new business growth in the Rest of Africa portfolio was 68% largely due to corporate activity relating to SAHAM Finances, with the East Africa portfolio underperforming.

The Indian insurance businesses continued to perform well, achieving double-digit growth in both life and general insurance in local currency. The Malaysian businesses are finding some traction after a period of underperformance, increasing their overall new business contribution by 3%. New business production is not yet meeting expectations, but the mix of business improved at both businesses.

SEM’s VNB declined by 3% (up 6% on a consistent economic basis and excluding corporate activity). The relatively low growth on a comparable basis is largely attributable to the new business underperformance in East Africa.

Sanlam Investment Group’s (SIG) overall net result from financial services declined by 6%, attributable to lower performance fees at the third party asset manager in South Africa, administration costs incurred for system upgrades in the wealth management business and lower earnings from equity-backed financing transactions at Sanlam Specialised Finance. The other businesses did well to grow earnings, despite the pressure on funds under management due to lower investment markets.

New business volumes declined by 13% mainly due to market volatility and low investor confidence in South Africa. Institutional new inflows remained weak for the full year, while retail inflows also slowed down significantly after a more positive start to the year. The international businesses, UK, attracted strong new inflows (up 57%).

Sanlam Corporate’s net result from financial services increased by 4%, with the muted growth caused by a continuation of high group risk claims experience. Mortality and disability claims experience weakened further in the second half of the year, which is likely to require more rerating of premiums in 2019. The administration units turned profitable in 2018, a major achievement. The healthcare businesses reported satisfactory double-digit growth in earnings, while the Absa Consultants and Actuaries business made a pleasing contribution of R39 million.

New business volumes in life insurance more than doubled, reflecting an exceptional performance. Single premiums grew by 109%, while recurring premiums increased by a particularly satisfactory 56%.

The good growth in recurring and single premium business, combined with modelling improvements, supported a 64% (71% on a comparable economic basis) increase in the cluster’s VNB contribution.

Following a year of major catastrophe events in 2017, Santam experienced a relatively benign claims environment in 2018. Combined with acceptable growth in net earned premiums, it contributed to a 37% increase in gross result from financial services (41% after tax and non-controlling interest). The conventional insurance book achieved an underwriting margin of 9% in 2018 (6% in 2017).

As at 31 December 2018, discretionary capital amounted to a negative R3.7 billion before allowance for the planned B-BBEE share issuance. A number of capital management actions during 2018 affected the balance of available discretionary capital, including the US$1 billion (R13 billion) SAHAM Finances transaction. Cash proceeds from the B-BBEE share issuance will restore the discretionary capital portfolio to between R1 billion and R1.5 billion depending on the final issue price within the R74 to R86 price range approved by shareholders.

Looking forward, the Group said economic growth in South Africa would likely remain weak in the short to medium term future, and would continue to impact efforts to accelerate organic growth. The outlook for economic growth in other regions where the Group operates is more promising. Recent acquisitions such as the SAHAM transaction should also support operational performance going forward.

“We remain focused on executing our strategy. We are confident that we have the calibre of management and staff to prudently navigate the anticipated challenges going forward,” Mr Kirk concluded.

Details of the results for the 12 months ended 31 December 2018 are available at