Commitments And Contingencies
|6 Months Ended|
Jun. 30, 2016
|Commitments And Contingencies [Abstract]|
|Commitments And Contingencies||
6. COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
On December 7, 2015, Plaintiff Vladimir Gusinsky Living Trust filed a stockholder class action lawsuit in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware (the “Court”) against the Company and all of its directors alleging that certain provisions of the Company’s Restated Charter and Second Amended and Restated Bylaws that restricted the removal of its directors to removal for cause only (the “director removal provisions”) were invalid as a matter of Delaware law. Plaintiff George Shapiro also filed a similar stockholder class action lawsuit in the Court on December 7, 2015. Thereafter, the plaintiffs agreed to the consolidation of their cases (the “Consolidated Case”).
After a hearing on the Consolidated Case on December 21, 2015, Vice Chancellor Laster issued an opinion in In re VAALCO Energy, Inc. Stockholder Litigation, Consol. C.A. No. 11775-VCL holding that, in the absence of a classified board or cumulative voting, the director removal provisions conflicted with Section 141(k) of the Delaware General Corporation Law and are therefore invalid.
On April 20, 2016, the Court approved a Stipulation and Order of Dismissal entered into by the parties in the Consolidated Case. We agreed to settle plaintiffs’ application for an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses totaling $775,000 due to the costs of defense of that application and the litigation risk associated therewith, all of which was covered by our directors and officers insurance as a covered claim.
In 2014, we entered into a long-term contract for a jackup drilling rig for the multi-well development drilling campaign offshore Gabon. The campaign included the drilling of development wells and workovers of existing wells in the Etame Marin block. We began demobilization in January 2016 and released the drilling rig in February 2016, prior to the original July 2016 contract termination date, because we no longer intended to drill any wells in 2016 on our Etame Marin block offshore Gabon. In June 2016, we reached an agreement with the drilling contractor to pay $5.1 million net to VAALCO’s interest for unused rig days under the contract. We will pay this amount, plus the demobilization charges, in seven equal monthly installments beginning in July 2016. The related expense is reported in the Other operating expense line of the condensed consolidated statement of operations.
We have an agreed cash funding arrangement for the eventual abandonment of all offshore wells, platforms and facilities on the Etame Marin Block. Based upon the abandonment study completed in January 2016, the abandonment cost estimate used for this purpose is approximately $61.1 million ($17.3 million net to VAALCO) on an undiscounted basis. The obligation for abandonment of the Gabon offshore facilities is included in the Asset retirement obligation line on our condensed consolidated balance sheet. Through December 31, 2015, $18.3 million ($5.1 million net to VAALCO) on an undiscounted basis has been funded, with the next funding of $2.6 million net to VAALCO expected to be required sometime later in 2016. This cash funding is reflected under Other noncurrent assets as Abandonment funding on our condensed consolidated balance sheet. Future changes to the abandonment costs estimate could change not only our asset retirement obligation, but the amount of future abandonment funding payments.
We are subject to periodic routine audits by various government agencies in Gabon, including audits of our petroleum cost account, customs, taxes and other operational matters, as well as audits by other members of the contractor group under our joint operating agreements.
In October 2014, we received a provisional audit report related to the Etame Marin block operations from the Gabon Taxation Department as part of a special industry-wide audit of business practices and financial transactions in the Republic of Gabon. In November 2014, we responded to the Gabon Taxation Department requesting joint meetings to advance the resolution of this matter and later provided a formal reply to the provisional audit report in February 2015. A tentative agreement was reached with the Gabon Taxation Department in April 2015, and we are working with the Gabon Taxation Department to finalize the audit. During 2015, we accrued an estimated settlement of $0.3 million based upon preliminary negotiations. The ultimate outcome of the claim and impact cannot be predicted, and an adverse result of the audit could result in a material liability and adversely affect our financial condition.
In June 2016, we accrued $2.2 million net to VAALCO for certain payroll taxes in Gabon which were not paid pertaining to labor provided to us over a number of years by a third-party contractor. While the payroll taxes were for individuals who were not our employees, we could be deemed liable for these expenses as the end user of the services provided. A process of negotiation with government payroll agencies in Gabon is underway to resolve this matter.
In November 2006, we signed a production sharing contract for Block 5 offshore Angola. The four year primary term, with an optional three year extension, awarded us exploration rights to 1.4 million acres offshore central Angola, with a commitment to drill two exploratory wells. Our working interest is 40% and we carry the Angolan national oil company, Sonangol P&P, for 10% of the work program. The government-assigned working interest partner was delinquent in paying their share of the costs several times in 2009 and was removed from the production sharing contract in 2010 by a governmental decree. Efforts to collect from the defaulted partner were abandoned in 2012. The available 40% working interest in Block 5, offshore Angola was assigned to Sonangol P&P effective on January 1, 2014. We invoiced Sonangol P&P for the unpaid delinquent amounts from the defaulted partner plus the amounts incurred during the period prior to assignment of the working interest totaling $7.6 million plus interest in April 2014. Because this amount was not paid and Sonangol P&P was slow in paying monthly cash call invoices since their assignment, we placed Sonangol P&P in default in the first quarter of 2015.
On March 14, 2016, we received payment from Sonangol P&P for the full amount owed us as of December 31, 2015, including the $7.6 million of pre-assignment costs. The $7.6 million recovery is reflected in the Bad debt expense (recovery) and other line of the condensed consolidated statements of operations. Default interest of $3.2 million was received and is shown in the Interest income line of the condensed consolidated statements of operations.
Exploration well commitment
Under the current agreement with the Republic of Angola, we and our working interest partner, Sonangol P&P are obligated to perform certain exploration activities by November 30, 2017. In the first quarter of 2015, we drilled an unsuccessful exploratory well on the Kindele prospect, which satisfied one of the well commitments. The agreement requires us to drill or commence drilling three additional exploration wells by the expiration date.
A $10.0 million assessment ($5.0 million net to VAALCO) applies to each of the three remaining exploratory well commitments, if any, that have not been spud at the end of the exploration period in November 2017. Due to the current outlook for oil prices and the uncertainties about the timing for our partner to pay its share of future costs, there may be delays in drilling the remaining three wells. We have continued to classify the $15.0 million commitment for drilling these wells as long term restricted cash on our balance sheet. We are seeking to extend the term of the exploration license and hence the well commitment deadline although no assurances can be given that such an extension will be obtained.
The entire disclosure for commitments and contingencies.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef