ETAP: Losses, debts and salaries increase despite monopoly (report)

The Tunisian Company of Petroleum Activities (ETAP) is currently facing several challenges, mainly financial losses and the disruption of its activities, especially with the increase of its debts, despite its main role in the oil industry.

ETAP’s profits have fallen significantly in recent years due to the decline in oil production at some production sites and the lack of new exploration.

According to statistics of the Ministry of Finance, ETAP’s debts are distributed among the state, banks, state-owned enterprises and social funds.

The increase in ETAP’s debt in recent years has affected its performance and its ability to invest in new projects.

The Ministry of Finance’s report on state-owned enterprises, published at the end of 2022, estimated an upward trend in ETAP’s debts to banks in 2021, amounting to 100.8 million dinars (MD) and 14.3% compared to 2020. As for ETAP’s debt to suppliers at the end of 2020, it reached 188.6 MD, up 34.5 MD and 22.4% compared to 2019.

According to the same source, the company’s indebtedness to suppliers is expected to continue in 2021, increasing by 111.2 MD and 59% to reach 299.8 MD.

On the other hand, despite the stability of the number of its staff, ETAP’s personnel costs could increase by 11.4% to reach 49 MD in 2021, knowing that salaries represent 33.79% of the losses recorded in 2021.

The latest report of the Ministry of Finance on state-owned enterprises analysed that ETAP will record a negative net result of – 145 million dinars (MD), at the end of 2021, recording a relative increase of 262 MD (i.e. an increase of 64.4%) compared to the year 2020.

This increase is explained by the improvement in the company’s operating result, which should reach 164.5 million dinars, with the rise in ETAP’s income from the marketing of fuels, in line with higher demand and rising prices on the world markets.

The financing related to ETAP’s investment projects will reach 258.7 MD in 2021, a significant increase compared to 2019, with a value of 59.7 MD.

Exploration investments reach 100 million dollars

Exploration activity was marked by the realisation of investments worth 100 million dollars (permits) and the granting of 21 authorisations (14 exploration authorisations and 7 exploration permits) covering an area of 74,935 square kilometres, at the end of September 2022…

At the end of 2021, ETAP noted a noticeable decrease in exploration investments for permits, which reached 23 million dollars, a decrease of about 28% compared to 2020. It explained that these investments were affected by the impact of the pandemic crisis.

Twelve exploration permits and eight prospecting permits were granted during the year. They cover an area of 75,795 square kilometres (km2), of which 44,696 km2 are onshore and 31,099 km2 are offshore. These permits are operated by 14 national and international oil companies.

No exploration in 2021

ETAP reported the creation of two new concessions, namely the “Chalbia” concession, which was issued from the “Jenein Sud” exploration permit, and the “Sidi Marzouk” concession, which was issued from the “Zaafrane” exploration permit.

Two exploratory wells were drilled by the “ENJ” company within the “Arayfa” concession, “Arayfa 1”, and by the “ENI” company within the “Borj El Khadra” concession, “Anbar 1”. In 2021, there will be no new wells, compared with three in 2020.

New production boost in 2021

In spite of the blockage, as indicated in the report of the Ministry of Finance on “public entities”, the operating licences of the Tunisian Company of Petroleum Activities should see an increase in oil production by 0.61 million barrels in 2021, a 61% increase in natural gas production of 530 thousand tonnes of toe and a 41.8% increase in liquefied gas production of 6.6 thousand tonnes.

This rise in production is largely explained by the resumption of the company’s production in its natural state, after a blockade that lasted until 2020, following the spread of the coronavirus and the social protests in some production areas.

According to the data provided by ETAP, at the end of 2022, the cumulative production of crude oil under the company’s exploitation permits will reach approximately 10101,657 barrels, with a negative variability rate of 12% compared to the beginning of 2022.

The data for the same period show that the quantities of gas marketed amount to 1763.169 million m3, a difference of 6% compared to the preliminary forecasts.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP)

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