Orca Exploration Group Inc. (“Orca” or the “Company” including its subsidiaries and affiliates) is announcing that it has taken several steps to limit the impact of the COVID-19 virus on its operations in Tanzania and the health of its employees.
It has been reported that there are now three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tanzania, all of whom are foreign nationals or have recently returned from Europe. The Government of Tanzania is reported to be considering control measures which may include restricting access to the country and enforcing self-quarantine for some entrants.
The Company and its subsidiary, PanAfrican Energy Tanzania Limited (“PAET”) have taken action to mitigate the operational impact of the COVID-19 virus. In addition to staff medical briefings and increased sanitization of the offices and other work areas, all non-essential face to face meetings have been curtailed, all non-essential travel to our operational worksites has been stopped, and all Company personnel or contractors entering Tanzania from COVID-19 affected areas are now required to self-isolate for 7 days, extendible to 14 days, if they demonstrate any symptoms of the virus.
The Company’s IT systems are cloud based and are unlikely to be affected by the pandemic. However, with the possibility of increased remote working, internet access and upgraded hardware and software has been provided to all key staff.
On Songo Songo Island (“SSI”), the operational staff rotate every 4 weeks and this provides some in-built cover should some employees contract COVID-19. As part of the contingency planning, we are identifying Company employees and Tanzanian contractors who could fill in for personnel who are required to self-isolate.
Currently the Company is not undertaking any critical activities that will be impacted by the virus in the short term. The debottlenecking of the flowline system that is expected to increase production capacity by 10 million standard cubic feet a day is in process and we have secured the requisite equipment for this project.
During the second half of the year, we will require a land rig for workover operations and the management of this project will need to be undertaken in conjunction with government directives in place at that time. We continue to negotiate an engineering, procurement and construction contract for the installation of compression on SSI by the end of 2021. This compression is essential to ensure that there is no loss in production through Songas’ gas processing and pipeline facilities as field pressure declines. At this stage, we do not envisage any delay with this project.
The Songo Songo natural gas is critical for the generation of electricity in Tanzania and for powering the activities of over 40 industrial customers in Dar es Salaam. These industries are primarily producing consumable end products (e.g. cement, tissues and bottles) for the markets within East Africa and as a consequence the COVID-19 virus is not expected to have a material impact on gas demand. It should also be noted that the recent decline in the oil price has a minimal (circa 5%) effect on our revenue as the majority of the gas volumes are sold at fixed prices.
Orca Exploration Group Inc.
Orca is an international public company engaged in natural gas development and supply in Tanzania through its subsidiary PanAfrican Energy Tanzania Limited. Orca trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the trading symbols ORC.A and ORC.B.
Nigel Friend, CEO
Blaine Karst, CFO
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+44-20 8434 2643
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Service Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Forward Looking Information
Certain information regarding Orca set forth in this news release, including but not limited to: whether the Government of Tanzania will restrict access to the country and enforce self-quarantine for some entrants, Orca’s IT systems being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Orca’s ability to identify employees and contractors who could fill in for personnel who are required to self-isolate, the increase in production capacity expected to result from the debottlenecking of the flowline system, whether there will be any delay with the installation of compression on Songo Songo Island project, and the impact of the COVID-19 virus on gas demand constitute “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws. The words “may”, “will”, “would”, “should”, “could”, “expects”, “plans”, “intends”, “trends”, “indications”, “anticipates”, “believes”, “estimates”, “predicts”, “likely” or “potential” or the negative or other variations of these words or other comparable words or phrases, are intended to identify forward-looking information. Forward-looking information, by its very nature, involves inherent risks and uncertainties and is based on several assumptions, both general and specific. Orca cautions that its assumptions may not materialize and that current economic conditions render such assumptions, although believed reasonable at the time they were made, subject to greater uncertainty. Such forward-looking information is not a guarantee of future performance and involves known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results or performance of Orca to be materially different from the outlook or any future results or performance implied by such information.
The forward-looking information contained in this new release is provided as of the date hereof and the Company undertakes no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless so required by applicable Canadian securities laws.