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At the end of each year, Tullow staff around the world are given the opportunity to submit questions for an interview with Chief Executive Officer, Aidan Heavey. The full interview from the end of 2012 was published on the Group's Intranet and an abstracted version is available below.
We had some very good results but I think the most interesting thing was the success in Kenya. To drill two successful wells in the first two holes was a bit of a surprise, so I think that's been the highlight. Another good thing this year was getting the Jubilee production on track and solving that issue as quickly and as cost effectively as we did.
While we had some good parts to 2012, we also had some ups and downs, so I think we need to refocus in 2013, really concentrate on value and look throughout the whole organisation to see where we can best add value to our business.
No; our heartland and our focus is still very much Africa and that's where our main assets are. It is our key area where we see the biggest upside and our biggest exploration programmes are all in Africa. So it is still our main focus.
We decided in 2012 to dispose of our North Sea and Dutch interests. The UK was quite a mature area and it struggled with the rest of the business to get capital. So we felt it was time to sell on those assets and redirect the teams who'd been working on them into more high profile assets where we can add better value going forward. Norway is also really an extension of the geology that's been very successful for us in Africa.
We'll remain an exploration-led company but we need to have a combination of exploration, development and production. Without production, we wouldn't have a balance sheet or the cash flow to actually fund exploration. So we do need to build our production profile, but not by setting production targets, but treat it as a funding mechanism for our exploration.
We have to be a little more selective in the areas we produce, and our production assets really have to be assets that we can add value to as well. That's why I think if they struggle for capital allocation maybe it's time to sell them and concentrate on assets within the areas and the countries that we are involved in that can add more value.
The Tullow culture should always be doing things right thing; environmentally, health and safety wise, treatment of partners, treatment of host governments, treatment of communities - we should do the same everywhere.
If you treat governments properly and respect local customs, it also means you respect your staff, and everybody else in the organisation respects each other, they all help each other. If we can get that trust through the whole organisation, and trust with the governments, it'll work better and ultimately it will add value to everybody.
In addition to our CSR projects and external relations, the best job that we can do for any country that we go into, and any community, is to find oil, develop it as cheaply and as efficiently as possible, and make sure that everything that we do in a country is transparent and proper.
If that is done right, then we are doing the best job for those communities and the government, and that should be part of our culture as much as everything else.
Ghana is by far the biggest operation that we have; it's the flagship of the business.
It's the asset that the outside world looks at and when it first came on stream, it put Tullow up on a pedestal. Then we had some issues with the production, but we've got that right now and I think we've shown if something isn't working properly, we can correct it. Now I think it is working extremely well.
We have the opportunity to bring people from other countries around the world to Ghana and show them how to do a project properly and the Ghanaians could actually travel around to say the same. And when I say 'do a project properly,' it's not just the Jubilee Field, or the TEN field, or exploration around it. It's actually how a modern oil company should work in a country; how we make sure that we train up and employ local people; how we expand on the scholarship schemes that we've put in place; how we make sure that local industry is supplying us with the services. There's a whole spectrum of things that we can get right in Ghana, and it can be used as an example of how the oil industry should work in new countries.
I think any tension or political unrest is a concern. It's not just a concern of Africa; it happens in a lot of places. Our view is that we are a commercial enterprise, and the best way of getting stability is to get investment. So the more investment there is in countries, the more education there is in the countries, the more businesses there are, the more stability you will have. I'm a great believer in investment rather than aid and I think we have a part to play in stabilising countries by getting a very good industrial base in place.
The operations in Uganda are at a stage now where we're finishing the appraisal programmes, the drilling and the licences.
The priority now is getting approval from the Government on the development plan, and Total, CNOOC and ourselves are working very closely with a committee set up by the government to get approval on the plans. We need to put a development plan in place that can make money, because ultimately that's why we're all in business, but also one that works for the government. It's team work and there has to be some compromise in the middle to make it work, but we're confident that we can reach a solution on it.
Once oil development starts, the amount of industry and knock-on effect of companies and employment in the country is going to be phenomenal. So, long before the oil revenue starts to flow, the impact of the development alone will have a huge positive impact on the country. I think everybody realises that, so we are working collaboratively with the Government to get that solution.