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Wentworth lifts guidance as gas demand improves

By Josh White

Date: Tuesday 15 Jun 2021

Wentworth lifts guidance as gas demand improves

(Sharecast News) - Tanzania-focussed natural gas production company Wentworth updated the market on its operations on Tuesday, lifting its guidance for the year.
The AIM-traded firm said "strong" in-country natural gas demand in the first half meant it could increase its annual average production guidance for the year to between 70 million and 80 million standard cubic feet per day gross, from a previous estimate of 65 million to 75 million standard cubic feet per day.

Wentworth and its Mnazi Bay joint venture partners supply 50% of all natural gas production in Tanzania.

It said average daily production for the year-to-date stood at 80.3 million standard cubic feet per day gross, compared with 58.1 million standard cubic feet per day a year earlier.

The company set a field production record for monthly average daily production of 101.85 million standard cubic feet per day in March, and a record for daily production of 110.65 million standard cubic feet power day.

Wentworth said the Mnazi Bay joint venture partners had continued to deliver on the 2021 work programme, which was focussed on ensuring reliability of supply.

That programme included maintenance on the MS-1X well including casing and flowline valve replacement, the refurbishment of the MB-1 well site superstructure, calibration of flowmeters at the gas processing facility, and upgrade to the field's supervisory control and data acquisition system, and a pre-front end engineering and design (FEED) study on compression.

On the financial front, Wentworth declared a final dividend for the 2020 financial year of 1p per share, making for total distributions of $3.8m, or 1.5p, for the year, up 27% year-on-year and making for a yield of about 6.7%.

The firm was debt-free, with cash on hand of $21.5m as at 31 May.

"Building on from the successes of last year despite the challenging macroeconomic environment, the first half of 2021 has demonstrated the ongoing resilience and the strength of the fundamentals of our business," said chief executive officer Katherine Roe.

"We are delighted to be revising our 2021 production guidance upwards following higher than expected demand in the first half of this year, alongside seeing a new record for monthly average daily production in March.

"This increased demand is in part due to a recovery in industrial demand from the impacts of Covid-19 and in part due to lower rainfall in the catchment areas of the hydroelectric dams."

Roe said the board was in "the final stages" of appointing a new independent non-executive director with regional expertise, as part of its commitment to and investment in Tanzania.

"It's an exciting time for the country as it looks to accelerate its growth following the global pandemic.

"We are committed to being a valuable partner in the next phase of its growth story."

At 1317 BST, shares in Wentworth were up 5% at 25.2p.

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