Afren's Lukman: Company Entering Second Phase of Growth

Rilwanu Lukman, Chairman of Afren plc, issued the statement below at the West Africa-focused company's annual general meeting Thursday.

"Afren's second year as a listed company has been a period of tremendous progress, in terms of corporate, operational and financial achievements.

"Afren continued the rapid expansion of its portfolio in 2006 with further penetration in Nigeria and strategic entries into Congo Brazzaville and Angola. We also recently announced our third partnership in Nigeria, entering into an agreement with a well-established indigenous company, Independent Energy Limited, to jointly develop the Ofa Field. Today, the Company has a 10 asset diversified portfolio in 5 West African countries and is on track to achieving its near term production target of 15,000 to 20,000 barrels of oil per day from the existing portfolio.

"Afren has demonstrated its ability to fast track the development of proven undeveloped fields in Nigeria. Having announced an agreement with AMNI for the development of the Okoro Setu fields in June 2006, we successfully drilled two appraisal wells in late 2006. The Government has approved the Field Development Plan, an FPSO has been secured and development drilling is due to start in the second half of 2007, with first oil expected in early 2008.

"We continue to complement our near term development assets with quality exploration acreage. The acquisition of a 14 percent stake in the La Noumbi permit in Congo Brazzaville provides entry into a growing Gulf of Guinea oil province and exposure to an exciting high impact exploration play. We have also established a strategic foothold in Angola through an option over a 5 percent stake in the exciting onshore Cabinda Block B license.

"We continue to successfully finance the development of our portfolio, having closed a US$75 million convertible bond issue in July 2006 and recently secured a fully underwritten $200 million non-recourse debt facility, to fund the development of the Okoro Setu project.

"In summary, Afren aims to continue its development into the premier pan-African exploration and production company by partnering with indigenous companies, African National Oil Companies and Governments. The Company intends to further exploit the development of proven undeveloped fields in Nigeria and build on the strategic entries into Congo Brazzaville, Angola and Gabon. Most importantly, the Company is now entering the second phase of its growth strategy, the actual development and production of proven oil and gas fields. The management team – with a strengthened development and production focus – is well placed for this next phase and to realize Afren's near term target of 15,000 – 20,000 barrels of oil per day of production."

All the resolutions proposed at the Annual General Meeting were duly passed.

Afren plc was founded in December 2004 and aims to become the premier pan-African independent Exploration and Production company. Since its listing on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange, Afren has rapidly expanded its portfolio and the management team has delivered ten assets in the Joint Development Zone of Nigeria Sao Tome and Príncipe, Nigeria, Gabon, Angola and Congo Brazzaville.

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