Latest Results

2017 Half Year Results

The information contained within this announcement is deemed by the Company to constitute inside information as stipulated under the Market Abuse Regulations (EU) No. 596/2014 ("MAR"). With the publication of this announcement via a Regulatory Information Service, this inside information is now considered to be in the public domain.

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Urals Energy PCL (AIM: UEN), the independent exploration and production company with operations in Russia, is pleased to announce its half-year results for the six months ended 30 June 2017.

Key statistics for the six months ended 30 June 2017 compared with the same period in 2016:

  Six months
Ended
30 June 2017
Six months
Ended
30 June 2016
%
change
       
Total production (barrels) 388,889 362,634 +7%
Gross revenue before excise and export duties US$ 28.0 m US$ 8.9 m +215%
Gross profit after excise, export duties and VAT US$ 2.8 m US$ 2.3 m +22%
Operating profit/(loss) US$ (0.2) m US$0.6 m -133%
Normalised EBITDA (see definition below - non IFRS) US$ 3.4 m US$2.2 m +55%
Net profit/(loss) pre-tax and foreign exchange effects  US$ (0.9) m US$0.3 m -400%
Profit/(loss) for the period US$ (0.8) m US$3.4 m -123%

Operational highlights

  • Total production at Arcticneft during the period reached 186,831 barrels, including production of 55,691 barrels from Arctic Oil Company Limited ("ANK") (H1-2016 production at Arcticneft alone: 122,491 barrels)
  • Total production at Petrosakh during the period reached 202,058 barrels (H1-2016: 240,143 barrels)
  • Current daily production at Arcticneft and Arctic Oil Company is 985 barrels of oil per day ("BOPD") compared with an average of 1,032 BOPD for the six months ended 30 June 2017
  • Current daily production at Petrosakh is 1,072 BOPD compared with an average of 1,116 BOPD for the six months ended 30 June 2017
  • In June 2017, the Company successfully completed a tanker shipment of 240,232 barrels of crude oil from Arcticneft (2016: 225,283 barrels)
  • During the period, the Company actively worked in the South Dagi area on the preparation of the field development plan, an exploration drilling project and a trial production project involving new exploration wells
  • The majority of work at the South Dagi area has been completed. The Board expects the development plan documentation to be finalized during the fourth quarter of 2017
  • In April 2017, the Company spudded Well 102, which is located on the main Petrosakh licence area. The testing has now been completed
  • The location of Well 102 is at an area of the reservoir where porosity is relatively low compared with other areas of the reservoir and its flow on completion was 25 BOPD
  • In April 2017, the Company spudded its first well on its Ordymskiy block in the Komi Republic. Our contactor, Vis-Mos Llc, made slow progress and poor performance in drilling and in July 2017 the Company gave the contactor notice of termination
  • The Company is in discussions with new drilling contractors and expects to spud a new well at the Komi site in December 2017
  • In June 2017, the Company signed a rig delivery contract with Jereh Group, a Chinese company. The rig will be deployed to drill our first well at South Dagi
  • Extraordinary General Meeting held on 26 May 2017, which resulted in a share consolidation and the approval for a reduction of the Company's share premium account which was completed in August 2017

Financial highlights

  • Gross profit (after excise, export duties and VAT) increased by 22% to US$2.8 million (H1-2016: US$2.3 million)
  • Operating loss of US$(0.2) million for the period (H1-2016: operating profit US$0.6 million)
  • Net loss before income tax of US$(0.4) million (H1-2016: US$3.3 million net profit). The fluctuation in net profit before income tax was partly caused by exchange rate movements during both periods
  • Underlying net loss before income tax and foreign exchange effects of US$(0.9) million (H1-2016: profit of US$0.3 million)
  • EBITDA* increased to US$3.4 million for the period from US$2.2 million for the six months ended 30 June 2016, an increase of 55% with a simultaneous decrease in EBITDA margins from 30.1% to 15.3%
  • Improved net working capital position at 30 June 2017 of US$6.2 million (31 December 2016: US$5.6 million)
  • The Company finished the period with a net debt position of US$12.3 million (31 December 2016: US$5.1 million) with a debt/EBITDA ratio of 3.8 as at 30 June 2016 (31 December 2016: Debt/EBITDA ratio 0.9)
  • In February 2017, the Company entered into a new 24 month non-revolving CAPEX credit facility with the Sakhalin branch of OJSC Sberbank of Russia. Under this loan, Sberbank provided the sum of 50 million Russian Roubles (representing approximately US$0.85 million at prevailing exchange rates)
  • In April 2017, the Company and its subsidiary Arcticneft entered into a short-term loan agreement with Petraco Oil Company Limited ("Petraco").  Under the terms of this agreement, Petraco s advanced the Company US$3.0 million as export shipment pre-financing. This indebtedness was repaid in July 2017

*Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation ("EBITDA") is a non IFRS measure which the Group uses to assess its performance.  It is defined as earnings before interest and taxation.

Post-period end and outlook

  • The Company is planning to make a second tanker shipment this year in October. The estimated volume to be shipped based on the current volume of crude left in stock and expected levels of production is around 24,500 tons (equivalent to 193,550 barrels)
  • In August 2017, the representative of Blackwatch Petroleum Services, the Competent Person firm engaged by the Company to carry out an update of the Company's reserves, started work on the Competent Person's Report on the Company's portfolio of licences. The Company expects that the evaluation of reserves will be finalized before the end of 2017  
  • In August 2017, the new rig that had been acquired for South Dagi licence area arrived on the Island of Sakhalin and was delivered to the oil field
  • The Company currently anticipates that the first well at South Dagi will be spudded by the end of October. All regulatory approvals have been recently received
  • In September 2017, the Company entered into a pre-export short term loan finance arrangement with Petraco Oil Company Limited ("Petraco") under which Petraco will advance the sum of US$3.0 million to the Company ahead of the anticipated October 2017 tanker shipment from Kolguev Island
  • The Company has recently entered into a new 36 month non-revolving credit facility with the Sakhalin branch of OJSC Sberbank of Russia. Under this loan, Sberbank provided the sum of 70 million Russian Roubles (representing approximately US$1.2 million at prevailing exchange rates)
  • In September 2017, the Company signed an umbrella contract with a supplier of condensate from the Kamchatka region. Approximately 90,000 barrels of condensate are to be delivered to Petrosakh and processed at our refinery. The Company believes that having this additional volume available for processing will lead to a positive effect on the Company's operating cash flow during the upcoming winter period
  • On 9 November 2017, the Company plans to hold its Annual General Meeting where shareholder approval for a first dividend payment will be sought, equivalent to a gross payment of US$0.062 per ordinary share, payable in December 2017

Mr Shrager, Chairman commented: "The results for the first half of 2017 were affected by the fact that Mineral Extraction Tax payable on our Kolgyuev Island shipment in June was determined by the oil price in April to May. The oil price had stayed in a range of US $50 to 55 bbl. between April and May, but fell to around $44 bbl. in June around the time of loading, which is the basis for our contractual terms.

Despite this, we achieved a significant increase in normalized EBITDA, although with a lower margin than expected due to the weak oil price, as noted above.

We remain determined to continue with our strategy of developing our expanded portfolio. On Sakhalin Island, we will spud our first well on the South Dagi licence in October. Production here should help offset the decline at Petrosak and allow for higher utilisation of our refinery - the only one on the Island.

On Kolgyuev Island, we are completing our development plan and assuming that the oil price remains around current levels, the implementation of our plans should lead to improved cash flows and thus an ability to step up work overs and introduce further techniques to expand production.

We continue to review the acquisition of new licences, especially where there are potential synergies with our existing operations.

Our maiden dividend, expected to be approved by shareholders at our forthcoming AGM and paid in December, is a sign of the Board's confidence in the potential of our portfolio."

 

Chief Executive Officer's Statement

Operating environment

The six months ended 30 June 2017 were characterised by continuing high volatility in the crude oil market. During the period, oil prices averaged US$52 per barrel (H1-2016: US$43 per barrel) and the Russian Rouble strengthening on average by 17% compared with the same period in 2016. Domestic prices for oil products ranged over the period from US$37 to US$97 per barrel (H1-2016: US$27 to US$80 per barrel).

Operating Results

US$'000 Period ended
30 June
  2017 2016
 
Gross revenues before excise and export duties 27,989 8,858
Net revenues after excise, export duties and VAT 22,433 7,525
Gross profit 2,819 2,318
Operating (loss)/profit (211) 592
Normalised management EBITDA 3,433 2,226
Total net finance (expense)/benefits (212) 3,317
(Loss) / profit for the period (759) 3,411

Production Period ended
30 June
2017 2016
 
Petrosakh bbls 202,058 240,143
Arcticneft bbls 131,140 122,491
Arctic Oil Company bbls 55,691 -
Petrosakh BOPD (average) 1,116 1,319
Arcticneft BOPD (average) 725 673
Arctic Oil Company BOPD (average) 308 -

Summary table: Gross Revenues before excise and export duties ($'000)

  Period ended
30 June
  2017 2016
Crude oil 11,065 802
Export sales 10,237 -
Domestic sales (Russian Federation) 828 802
Petroleum (refined) products - domestic sales 16,842 7,955
Other sales 82 101
Total gross revenues before excise and export duties 27,989 8,858

For the six months ended 30 June 2016, total gross revenues increased by US$19.1 million. This increase was due to a US$8.9 million increase in gross revenue form the local market and US$10.2 million of new export revenue from Arcticneft. A 102% increase in gross revenues from the local market was the result of a 30% increase in sales volumes, combined with a 26% average increase in refined products prices in Russian Rouble equivalent. The 17% average strengthening of the Russian Rouble versus the US Dollar was also a positive factor in increasing gross revenues during the period.

The strengthening of the Russian Rouble and increase of average prices for refined products during the period also had a positive influence on average net back prices for domestic sales of crude oil and petroleum (refined) products. At the same time, further increases in excise tax partly mitigated the overall increase in net-backs.

A 24% increase in net back prices for crude oil domestic sales is broadly in line with the 4% increase in domestic sales price and the 17% average strengthening of the Russian Rouble versus the US Dollar.

During the six months ended 30 June 2016, net back prices for refined products increased by 40%. This increase was due to a combination of factors that exerted different effects, including:

  • a 26% average increase in refined product prices in Russian Rouble equivalent
  • an 18% further increase in the excise tax for gasoline and diesel fractions
  • a 10% increase in the cost of a newer additive and a 41% increase in transportation costs due to the changes in the Company's marketing policy
  • the 17% strengthening of the Russian Rouble, which led to increases in refined product prices in US dollar equivalent, which were offset to an extent by increases in transportation and refinery costs

The net back for domestic product sales is defined as gross product sales minus VAT, transportation costs, excise tax and refining costs.

The net back price for export shipments decreased by 1.6% to US$30.90 per barrel when compared with 2016 export sales (2016: US$31.42 per barrel). The main factor was the lower Brent oil prices during the period of shipment.

Summary table: Net backs (US$/bbl)

  Period ended
30 June
  2017 2016
Crude oil 32.07 38.95
Export sales 30.90 -
Domestic sales (Russian Federation) 48.48 38.95
Petroleum (refined) products - domestic sales 51.24 38.65
     

Gross profit (net revenues less cost of sales) for the first half of 2017 increased by 22% to US$2.8 million (H1-2016: US$2.3 million). The main driver for this increase was the growth of sales volumes and prices in the domestic market, as well as the strengthening of the Russian Rouble.

Cost of sales for the six months ended 30 June 2017 totalled US$19.6 million, as compared with US$5.2 million for the six months ended 30 June 2016, of which US$3.2 million and US$2.5 million respectively represented non-cash items, principally depreciation, amortisation and depletion.

Several factors influenced the operating costs of the Company during the period: the strengthening of the Russian Rouble versus the US Dollar; Russian Rouble costs and the cost of the export shipment which was previously made in the second part of the year. During the period, the Company increased its operating costs in Russian Rouble equivalent by 53% compared with the same period in 2016. The increase in operating costs in Russian Rouble equivalent is a combination of:

  • a 54% increase in Unified Production Tax, which was caused by: a 7% increase in production volume, an 8% legislative increase due to a change in the basis of the tax calculation, a 21% increase in average Brent oil price and the 17% strengthening of the Russian Rouble (with the last two indicators being inputs for the production tax rate calculation);
  • a 32% increase in employee costs at our production entities. This increase was partly caused by the additional cost of employees connected with the acquisition of Arctic Oil Company and partly by the implementation of a new employee motivation system at the subsidiaries;
  • a 110% increase in the cost of materials. 14% of this increase was attributable to Arctic Oil Company and inflation, with 86% being due to the cost of a newer additive, which is required in order to be compliant with the 'EURO-5' requirement that the Company started to implement in the second half of 2016; and
  • a 45% increase in the costs of oil treating, storage and other services was attributable to Arctic Oil Company and additional geophysics work performed during the period to keep production stable on Kolguev Island.

Selling, general and administrative expenses increased during the first half of 2017 to US$2.8 million from US$1.6 million during the same period of 2016. Apart from the Russian Rouble strengthening, the Company had an average increase of 39% in Russian Rouble denominated selling, general and administrative costs in the period, as compared with the previous period. The main driver of this rise was:

  • a one off increase in employee costs, representing a severance payment to Alexey Ogarev, the former Vice-President and Board member of the Company
  • an increase in storage and transportation expenses at Petrosakh, due to changes in the Company's marketing policy. During the period, 50% of refined products volumes were sold via the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk facility on Sakhalin Island, with 50% being sold "Ex Works", while during the previous period in 2016 the proportion was 30% and 70% respectively
  • an increase in loading services related to the export shipment at Arcticneft in June 2017

The net finance expense for the first half of 2017 was US$(0.2) million (H1-2016: US$3.3 million net finance income). This change was primarily driven by exchange rate movements caused by the strengthening of the Russian Rouble against the US Dollar in the first half of 2017 and the interest accrued on the loans in effect.

The increase in sales volumes in the six months ended 30 June 2017 was offset by increases in excise tax and production tax expenses and cost of sales and selling expenses, which resulted in a consolidated normalised EBITDA of US$3.4 million, compared with US$2.3 million for the first half of 2016, which corresponded to EBITDA margins of 15.3% and 30.1% respectively.

Management EBITDA (US$'000) - Unaudited

  Period ended
30 June
  2017 2016
(Loss) for the period (759) 3,411
     
  Income tax (charge) 336 498
  Net interest and foreign currency (gain)/loss 212 (3,317)
  Depreciation, depletion and amortisation 3,246 1,540
  Total non-cash expenses 3,794 (1,279)
   
  Charge of bad debt provision    
  Other non-recurrent (income)/losses 398 134
  Total non-recurrent and non-cash items    
     
Normalised EBITDA 3,433 2,266

Accounts receivable and prepayments

As at 30 June 2017, the Company had accounts receivable and prepayments of US$11.1 million (31 December 2016: US$4.0 million). The increase of US$7.1 million was mainly represented by: the balance owed by Petraco Oil Company for crude oil shipped in the second part of June; prepayments relating to support vessels for export shipments; and advances in respect of the delivery of a drilling rig.

Net debt Position and Borrowings

As at 30 June 2017, the Company had net debt of US$12.3 million (calculated as long-term and short-term debt less cash in bank and less loans issued). As at 31 December 2016, the Company had net debt of US$5.1 million.

In February 2017, the Company entered into a new 24 month non-revolving CAPEX credit facility with the Sakhalin branch of OJSC Sberbank of Russia. Under this loan Sberbank provided the sum of 50 million Russian Roubles (representing approximately US$0.85 million at prevailing exchange rates).

In April 2017 the Company entered into a short-term loan agreement with Petraco Oil Company Limited ("Petraco"), under which Petraco agreed to advance the sum of US$3.0 million to the Company. The loan, including the accrued interest, was fully repaid in July 2017 as a result of the non-cash settlement transactions involving trade receivables from crude oil sales to Petraco.

As at 30 June 2017, the total borrowings of the Company was US$13.2 million (31 December 2016: US$6.8 million), including a US$5.9 million of credit facilities from the Sakhalin branch of OJSC Sberbank of Russia (31 December 2016: US$4.1 million), US$2.3 million of debt which was acquired with two private Russian companies, RK-Oil and BVN Oil (31 December 2016: US$2.1 million), US$1.7 million of short term borrowings from Kamchatcomagroprombank (31 December2016: US$0.5 million) and the US$3.0 million loan from Petraco.

Post period end, our Petrosakh subsidiary recently entered into a new 36 month non-revolving credit facility with the Sakhalin branch of OJSC Sberbank. Under this loan, Sberbank will provide, by way of several tranches, the sum of 70 million Russian Roubles (representing approximately US$1.2 million at prevailing exchange rates) to Petrosakh.

The key terms of this new Sberbank loan are as follows:

  • repayable in 2.8 million Russian Roubles monthly installments, starting from 25 September 2018. The final date of repayment is 25 September 2020;
  • interest chargeable at the rate of 11% plus 1%., subject to Petrosakh meeting monthly turnover more than 150 million Russian Roubles;
  • secured by way of a pledge over the property of Petrosakh; and
  • the agreement provides for a parent company guarantee from Urals Energy and a guarantee from Urals Energy's other operating subsidiary, JSC Arcticneft.

The proceeds of the new Sberbank loan will be used by the Company for financing its operating and drilling activities, including primarily the financing of pre-payments for gas condensate that is being acquired for processing at Petrosakh.

Operational update

Petrosakh

In April 2017, the Company spudded Well 102, which is located on the main Petrosakh licence area. The Company drilled the well with caution, to ensure that the problems that the Company had previously encountered during drilling operations of this nature were avoided. In August 2017, the testing of the well was completed. The location of the well is at an area of the reservoir where porosity is relatively low compared with other areas of the reservoir. Well 102's flow rate is now 15 barrels of oil per day. The Company anticipates that the well will flow for three years and will then be used as a water injector to maintain pressure in the reservoir.

In June 2017, the Company signed a rig delivery contract with Jereh Group, a Chinese company, for drilling the first well at South Dagi. In August 2017, the rig arrived on the Island of Sakhalin and was delivered to the oil field. Drilling locations for this rig have been determined. The drilling team moved to the area and assembling procedures are in progress now. The Company anticipates that the first well at South Dagi will be spudded by the end of October. In parallel, the Company is planning to perform workovers of two former wells on this licence area.

Downstream

Petrosakh continues to refine 100% of its crude oil production and sell all of its refined products to the local market.

The highly competitive nature of the refined products market has caused the Company to constantly reassess its marketing activity. At the beginning of 2017, the Company entered into a new 24 month non-revolving CAPEX credit facility to secure storage facilities for refined products in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk on Sakhalin Island. This allowed the Company to sell approximately 50% of its refined products in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk during the period, which led to an increase in the volume of sales by 40% when compared with the same period of 2016.

As stated previously, the Company started the process of renewing its terminal license, which would allow the Company to become involved in bunkering activity and potential shipments of refined products to neighbouring regions. The Board originally expected to finalize this process in the summer of 2017. However, due to the complexity of the administrative procedures, there has been a delay in this process, although the Board believes that the process will be finalized by the beginning of the 2018 tanker shipping season.

To allow for the most efficient usage of its spare plant capacity, the Company started to look for opportunities to buy crude oil and condensate form external suppliers. This should allow for increases to both production volumes and profitability at the local level.

Arcticneft

During the period, the main efforts of the Company continued be a focus on minimizing the natural decline in field production through workovers. During the period, the Company continued perforation work on five wells at Arcticneft and Arctic Oil Company. This led to a stable production level during the period.

After a preliminary analysis of the well stock, the Company decided to shift several wells to artificial oil lifting using jack pumps. Jack pumps have been ordered and we expect the delivery by the end of the year.

In June the Company has engaged Prokon, a geotechnical analysis company, to update the model for the development of the Peschanoozerskoye Field. The Board expects to receive detailed recommendations based on several scenarios by the end of November 2017, which will be used to guide our future steps.

RK-Oil

In April 2017, the Company spudded its first exploratory well on the licence held by RK-Oil. Unfortunately the contractor, Vis-Mos LLC, made slow progress in drilling progress due to a poorly managed team. As a consequence, the Company decided to terminate the drilling contract with this contractor and seek compensation for the Company's costs. The contract was on a turnkey basis, but some mobilisation costs were incurred by the Company. The Company is in discussions with new potential drilling contractors and expects to spud a new well at the Komi site in December 2017.

Leonid Dyachenko
Chief Executive Officer

Dr Svyatoslav Bilibin, (Dr.Sci.Tech. and Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences), an independent adviser to Urals Energy, who meets the criteria of a qualified person under the AIM Guidance Note for Mining, Oil and Gas Companies, has reviewed and approved the technical information contained within this announcement. The reserves figures contained within this announcement have not been reviewed in accordance with the AIM Guidance Note for Mining, Oil and Gas Companies and the Company plans to have a review of the Company's assets, in accordance with an appropriate Standard in an updated Competent Person's Report, which the Board has commissioned in for publication before the end of 2017.

 

Share Price [UEN]

share price at 22:40
on 11/12/2017

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