(The following statement was released by the rating agency)
Jan 29 - Fitch Ratings has affirmed Alliance Oil Company Ltd.'s (AOIL)
Long-Term foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'B'. The Outlook is Stable. A full
list of rating actions is at the end of this release.
AOIL's ratings continue to reflect the company's limited scale of operations, restricted
market share, concentrated business model and potential increase in capital intensity and
leverage to pursue its organic growth strategy. Fitch notes that the company's organic growth
strategy may be challenged by the recent production decline at the Kolvinskoye field in
Timan-Pechora. At the same time, Fitch recognises the company's progress in upgrading the
Khabarovsk refinery. AOIL is one of Russia's second-tier integrated oil companies, with main
upstream assets in the Timan-Pechora and Volga-Urals regions.
Upstream Scale Limits Upgrade
AOIL's average daily upstream production in 2012 was 53.9 thousand barrels of oil per day
(mbbl/d), up 10% yoy. Fitch expects that in 2013 the company may see a moderate decline in crude
production. The current production level is commensurate with the mid 'B' rating category. A
positive rating action would be possible if the company expands its hydrocarbons production to
80-100 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day (mboe/d) excluding equity stakes while
maintaining credit ratios commensurate with the 'B' rating category. The company intends to
launch the gas business in the Tomsk region in 2013, and targets double digit growth of oil and
gas production in 2013-2015.
Timan-Pechora is Key
AOIL's ability to implement its upstream growth strategy at the Timan-Pechora region will be
particularly important for maintaining and increasing its production. In 2012 AOIL's average
daily oil production in Timan-Pechora amounted to 23mbbl/d (or 42% of overall production), and
at end-2011 the region was accountable for 63% of the company's proved and probable reserves.
Lower than expected production potential of Kolvinskoye, AOIL's largest field launched in
September 2011, resulted in upstream production declining to 52.3mbbl/d in Q412 from 62.4mbbl/d
Current progress on the Khabarovsk refinery upgrade, increasing AOIL's primary refining
capacity to 90mbbl/d, is supportive of the current rating. Average daily refining volumes at the
Khabarovsk refinery amounted to 80.1mbbl/d in 2012, up 9% yoy. The company intends to increase
its refining capacity further to 100mbbl/d by end-2013, and to connect the refinery to
Transneft's ESPO pipeline by end-2013, significantly reducing the company's transportation
Material Contribution to JV
In 2012, AOIL contributed its Volga-Urals production assets operated by Tatnefteotdacha and
Saneco to its joint venture with Spain's Repsol, S.A. ('BBB-'/Negative) set up in 2011.
The assets accounted for 35% of AOIL's proved reserves at end-2011, and for around 38% of the
company's upstream production in 2012. Fitch expects AOIL will retain significant control over
these assets, but estimates that operating cash flow effectively available for servicing AOIL's
debt may decrease in the medium term on the back of the transaction.
Positive: Increasing the scale of upstream and downstream operations (including hydrocarbon
production expanding to 80-100mboe/d), demonstrating a growing proved reserve base, achieving
positive free cash flow (FCF) on a consistent basis, and maintaining mid-cycle FFO adjusted
leverage at or less than 4x and interest cover above 4x could lead to a positive rating action.
Negative: Decline in hydrocarbon production (eg stemming from inability to stabilise the
production at Timan-Pechora), as well as higher capex or non-zero dividends resulting in
mid-cycle FFO adjusted leverage rising above 5x and interest cover falling below 3x could lead
to a negative rating action.
LIQUIDITY AND DEBT STRUCTURE
Adequate Liquidity: Fitch views AOIL's liquidity position as adequate for the current
ratings but challenged overall. Organic sources of liquidity are the most constrained due to
high capex resulting in negative FCF generation. At end-2012, AOIL had USD436m of cash compared
with short-term debt of USD325m.
External Sources of Liquidity: In 2008-2012 AOIL was able to issue long-term ruble domestic
bonds, issue Eurobonds, obtain long-term financing from Vnesheconombank
('BBB'/Stable) and issue preferred stock. Fitch believes the company would have the ability to
raise additional finance when needed, if its financial position does not deteriorate
FULL LIST OF RATING ACTIONS
Alliance Oil Company Ltd.
Long-Term foreign currency IDR: affirmed at 'B'; Outlook Stable
Long-Term local currency IDR: affirmed at 'B'; Outlook Stable
Short-Term foreign currency IDR: affirmed at 'B'Short-Term local currency IDR: affirmed at
'B'Foreign currency senior unsecured rating: affirmed at 'B'/'RR4'
National Long-Term Rating: affirmed at 'BBB(rus)'; Outlook Stable
OJSC Alliance Oil Company
Local currency senior unsecured rating: affirmed at 'B' /RR4
National senior unsecured rating: affirmed at 'BBB(rus)'