Commitments and Contingencies
|9 Months Ended|
Sep. 30, 2019
|Commitments and Contingencies [Abstract]|
|Commitments and Contingencies||
11. COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
As part of securing the first of two extensions to the Etame PSC to which the Company is entitled from the government of Gabon, the Company agreed to a cash funding arrangement for the eventual abandonment of all offshore wells, platforms and facilities on the Etame Marin block. The agreement was finalized in the first quarter of 2014 (effective as of 2011) providing for annual funding over a period of ten years in amounts equal to 12.14% of the total abandonment estimate for the first seven years and 5.0% per year for the last three years of the production license. The amounts paid will be reimbursed through the cost account and are non-refundable. The abandonment estimate used for this purpose is approximately $61.8 million ($19.2 million net to VAALCO) on an undiscounted basis. Through September 30, 2019, $35.7 million ($11.1 million net to VAALCO) on an undiscounted basis has been funded. This cash funding is reflected under “Other noncurrent assets” as “Abandonment funding” on the Company’s condensed
consolidated balance sheets. Future changes to the anticipated abandonment cost estimate could change the Company’s asset retirement obligation and the amount of future abandonment funding payments.
On March 5, 2019, in accordance with certain foreign currency regulatory requirements, the Gabonese branch of the international commercial bank holding the abandonment funds in a U.S. dollar denominated account transferred the funds to the Central Bank for “CEMAC” (the Central African Economic and Monetary Community), of which Gabon is one of the six member states. The U.S. dollars were converted to local currency with a credit back to the Gabonese branch. Amendment 5 to the Etame PSC provides that in the event that the Gabonese bank fails for any reasons to reimburse all of the principal and interest due, the Company will no longer be held liable for the resulting shortfall in funding the obligation to remediate the sites.
In connection with the charter of the FPSO, the Company, as operator of the Etame Marin block, guaranteed all of the charter payments under the charter through its contract term, which expires in September 2022. At the Company’s election, the charter may be extended for two periods beyond September 2020. The Company obtained guarantees from each of the Company’s joint venture owners for their respective shares of the payments. The Company’s net share of the charter payment is 31.1%, or approximately $9.7 million per year. Although the Company believes the need for performance under the charter guarantee is remote, the Company recorded a liability of $0.2 million as of September 30, 2019 and December 31, 2018 representing the guarantee’s estimated fair value. The guarantee of the offshore Gabon FPSO charter has $53.9 million in remaining gross minimum obligations as of December 31, 2018.
Estimated future minimum obligations through the end of the FPSO charter that reflects the right of early termination are as follows as of December 31, 2018 (in thousands):
The FPSO charter payment includes a $0.93 per barrel charter fee for production up to 20,000 barrels of oil per day and a $2.50 per barrel charter fee for those barrels produced in excess of 20,000 barrels of oil per day. VAALCO’s net share of payments was $10.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2018.
Regulatory and Joint Interest Audits
The Company is subject to periodic routine audits by various government agencies in Gabon, including audits of the Company’s petroleum cost account, customs, taxes and other operational matters, as well as audits by other members of the contractor group under the Company’s joint operating agreements.
In 2016, the government of Gabon conducted an audit of the Company’s operations in Gabon, covering the years 2013 through 2014. The Company received the findings from this audit and responded to the audit findings in January 2017. Since providing the Company’s response, there have been changes in the Gabonese officials responsible for the audit. The Company is working with the newly appointed representatives to resolve the audit findings. The Company does not anticipate that the ultimate outcome of this audit will have a material effect on the Company’s financial condition, results of operations or liquidity.
At December 31, 2018, the Company had accrued $1.3 million, net to VAALCO, in “Accrued liabilities and other” on the Company’s condensed consolidated balance sheets for potential fees that may result from customs audits. This matter was fully resolved in January 2019 for $1.3 million, net to VAALCO.
In July 2019, the Company reached an agreement in principle to resolve a legacy issue related to findings from Etame joint venture owners’ audits for the periods from 2007 through 2016 for $4.4 million net to VAALCO. The agreement in principle also provides for procedures to minimize the chances of future audit claims. Accordingly, the Company has accrued $4.4 million that is reflected in the “Accrued liabilities and other” line of the Company’s condensed consolidated balance sheet and is recorded as a second quarter 2019 expense in the condensed consolidated statements of operations in the line item “Other operating income (expense), net”. The final settlement agreements were executed by all the joint venture owners effective September 9, 2019. In October 2019, the Company paid $1.1 million of the $4.4 million. The balance of the amount due is expected to be paid during the first half of 2020.
The Company contracted a drilling rig to be used to drill two wells, including two appraisal wellbores, for the Etame Marin joint operations. The agreement includes options to drill four additional wells at the Etame Marin block. The drilling rig contract stipulates
a day rate of approximately $75,000. The Company expects the term associated with the drilling rig commitment to be less than one year. In September 2019, the Company commenced its 2019/2020 drilling campaign and spud the Etame 9P appraisal wellbore.
For discussion of other contractual commitments, see Note 12 – Leases.
The entire disclosure for commitments and contingencies.
Reference 1: http://fasb.org/us-gaap/role/ref/legacyRef