Board of Directors Report

2016 Board of Directors' Report

TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company ASA (the Parent Company, and together with its subsidiaries, TGS or the Company) is a leading resource for global geoscientific data products and services in the oil and gas industry. TGS specializes in the design, acquisition and processing of multi-client seismic surveys worldwide. In addition to extensive global geophysical and geological data libraries that include multi-client seismic data, magnetic and gravity data, digital well logs, production data and directional surveys, TGS also offers advanced processing and imaging services, interpretation products, and data integration solutions. TGS operates globally and is presently active in North and South America, Europe, Russia, Africa, Asia and Australia.
The corporate headquarters of the Parent Company and TGS are located in Asker, Norway. Its primary subsidiary, TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company, is based in Houston, Texas, U.S.A. TGS also has regional offices in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Singapore and elsewhere in the U.S. All financial statements in this report are presented on the basis of the going concern assumption in accordance with the Norwegian Accounting Act section 3-3a, and the Board of Directors confirms that it is of the opinion that the prerequisites for a going concern assumption are indeed present.
Market conditions continued to be difficult during 2016, with further declines in oil companies' E&P spending. As a result, the downward pressure on volumes and prices continued and TGS' net revenues decreased by 26% compared to 2015.
TGS' geoscientific data library is one of the industry's most comprehensive multi-client resources, encompassing a wide range of geophysical, geological, gravity, magnetic and bathymetry data. The following table summarizes the data inventory at year-end.

  2D Seismic chart

TGS' primary focus is developing, managing and selling licenses of the Company's multi-client geoscientific data, which accounted for over 96% of revenues in 2016. Customer pre-funding of new multi-client projects reduces the Company's investment exposure, while late sales from its library of data products have historically provided the bulk of the revenue stream. Net late sales after partner share was at USD 333.4 million in 2016, compared to USD 333.9 million in 2015. Pre-funding revenues on new projects of USD 105.2 million, representing a decrease of 59% from USD 256.7 million in 2015, funded 48% of the operational investments in new multi-client data for 2016 (39% when including multi-client investments of USD 50.7 million that were contingent on sales), compared to 51% in 2015. Proprietary contract revenues decreased by 20% due to lower proprietary acquisition activity, and represented 4% of total net revenues in 2016 (2015: 4%).

RevGeo split  

TGS generates revenues from a geographically diversified portfolio. In 2016, revenues from North and South America (NSA) decreased by 10% from 2015. Revenues from Europe and Russia (EUR) decreased 13% as compared to 2015, while revenues from Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific (AMEAP) decreased by 77% from 2015.

Multi-client Geoscientific Data Library
TGS' library of multi-client seismic data and integrated products represents 55% of the total assets as of 31 December 2016 (58% in 2015). Seismic data, representing 90% of the library's net book value at year-end, is amortized on a project-by-project basis. Due to an amendment in IAS 38, the accounting practice with respect to amortization of the multi-client library changed with effect from 1 January 2016 as follows:

  • During the work in progress (WIP) phase, amortization has continued to be based on total cost versus forecasted total revenues of the project.
  • After a project is completed, a straight-line amortization is applied. The straight-line amortization is assigned over the remaining useful life, which for most marine projects is considered to be 4 years. For most onshore projects, the remaining useful life after completion of a project is considered to be 7 years. The straight-line amortization is distributed evenly through the financial year independently of sales during the quarters.

The well data library is amortized on a straight-line basis over seven years, while data purchased from third-parties follow a straight-line amortization profile over the remaining useful life.


Commitments to Seismic Acquisition Capacity 
TGS secures all seismic acquisition capacity from external suppliers, for both offshore and onshore projects. At year-end 2016, the Company had entered commitments for two 3D vessels, two source vessels and one 2D vessel. All these commitments will expire in 2017, and the amount committed, included contractual lease agreements, totaled USD 50 million (2015: USD 199 million).


Results from Operations, Operating Cash flows and Financial Position 
Net revenues in 2016 were USD 456.0 million, a decrease of 26% compared to 2015 (USD 612.3 million). Operating profit (EBIT*) for 2016 was USD 53.0 million, compared to an operating loss of USD 21.2 million in 2015.

The 2016 EBIT margin was 12% compared to -3% in 2015. Pre-tax profit in 2016 was USD 52.7 million, compared to a pre-tax loss in 2015 of USD 24.5 million. Net income in 2016 was USD 27.7 million, compared to a net loss of USD 28.3 million in 2015.


TGS' operating cash flow in 2016 was USD 324.4 million, a decline of 43% from USD 566.5 million in 2015. Operating cash flow is significantly higher than the operating profit as amortization and impairment of the multi-client library, a non-cash expense, is the Company's largest expense item.
From 2016, TGS has started to pay quarterly dividends in accordance with the resolution made by the Annual General Meeting on 6 May 2015. The Annual General Meeting held 10 May 2016 renewed the Board of Directors' authorization to distribute quarterly dividends. In 2016, TGS paid dividends totaling USD 59.5 million (equal to USD 0.60 per share), down from USD 112.9 million (NOK 8.5 per share) paid in 2015.
At year-end 2016, TGS had cash and cash equivalents of USD 190.7 million compared to USD 162.7 million at the end of 2015. TGS held current assets of USD 544.2 million at 31 December 2016 and current liabilities of USD 262.1 million. In addition, TGS had USD 75.0 million in undrawn credit facilities at year-end 2016. In January 2016, the Company entered into an amended and restated revolving credit facility to expand its primary facility to USD 75.0 million from USD 50.0 million.
As of 31 December 2016, total equity amounted to USD 1,169.1 million, corresponding to an equity ratio of 79% (2015: 82%). 


*Defined in the Alternative Performance Measures section in Annual Report

Mergers and Acquisitions 
In 2016 TGS, together with subsidiaries of Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS) agreed principal terms and conditions for jointly acquiring the majority of the multi-client library of Dolphin UK Ltd. The transaction was concluded in January 2017. The total acquisition price paid by the TGS entities for the 50% interest acquired amounted to USD 6.2 million. 

The Dolphin library is considered to be a good strategic fit for TGS and will add to the already strong position in areas such as the Barents Sea, the North Sea, NW Africa and Australia, including several surveys where TGS has held a joint interest with Dolphin. The Dolphin transaction is the second strategic library acquisition TGS has concluded in this down cycle, following the purchase of most of the Polarcus library in 2015.


Investments, Capital, Financing and Dividends 
TGS is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange with a market capitalization of USD 2.3 billion on 31 December 2016. As of year-end, TGS was the 15th largest company on the Oslo Stock Exchange and is part of the OBX index consisting of the 25 most liquid stocks in Norway. TGS did not issue any new equity during 2016.

During 2016, TGS invested USD 271.0 million (compared to USD 501.7 million during 2015) in organic growth of its multi-client library. Of this USD 50.7 million was related to agreements where parts of vendor payments were contingent on sales of the respective surveys being closed. The net book value of the multi-client library amounted to USD 812.4 million at 31 December 2016 as compared to USD 838.9 million at 31 December 2015 after recognizing USD 286.7 million in amortization and USD 11.0 million in impairments (2015: USD 331.2 million in amortization and USD 176.1 million in impairments).

From 2016, TGS has commenced paying quarterly dividends in accordance with the resolution made by the Annual General Meeting on 6 May 2015. The Annual General Meeting held 10 May 2016 renewed the Board of Directors' authorization to distribute quarterly dividends. The aim will be to keep a stable quarterly dividend in US dollars through the year, but the actual level paid will be subject to continuous evaluation of the underlying development of the Company and the market.

In its meeting on 1 February 2017, the Board of Directors resolved to pay a dividend of USD 0.15 per share (NOK equivalent of 1.23 per share) in Q1 2017 based on the 2015 financial statements. The dividends were paid on 23 February 2017.

The Board will propose to the May 2017 Annual General Meeting that the Board should be authorized to distribute quarterly dividends on the basis of the 2016 financial statements.


Risk Management and Internal Control 
TGS' activities are heavily dependent on the spending budgets of its clients, which are exploration and production companies in the oil and gas industry. These budgets are in turn largely a function of actual and/or expected shifts in oil and gas prices. Consequently, TGS' activities, opportunities and profitability are linked to the development of these prices. Under TGS' business model, discretionary investments in new multi-client projects are by far the largest use of cash. Because the Company outsources mostly short-term vessel and land crew contracts for the vast majority of these discretionary investments and the prices of such contracts are becoming more favourable, TGS is able to actively manage the cash flow risks associated with fluctuations in market conditions.

TGS is exposed to other financial risks such as currency, liquidity and credit risk. TGS' operational exposure to currency risk is low as significant portions of its revenues earned and costs incurred are in USD. However, as significant parts of the taxes are calculated and paid in NOK, fluctuations between the NOK and the USD result in currency exchange gains or losses. From 2016, the quarterly dividend payments have been linked to USD which has reduced the NOK exposure significantly.

Liquidity risk arises from a lack of correlation between cash flow from operations and financial commitments. As of 31 December 2016, TGS held current assets of USD 544.2 million, of which cash and cash equivalents represented USD 190.7 million, while current liabilities were USD 262.1 million. TGS also had unused credit facilities of USD 75.0 million at 31 December 2016. As a result, the Company considers its liquidity risk to be low.

TGS is exposed to credit risk through sales and receivables and uses its best efforts to manage this risk by monitoring receivables and implementing credit checks and other actions as deemed appropriate. In addition, excess cash is placed in either bank deposits or financial instruments that have a minimum rating of "investment grade". The maximum exposure to credit risk at the reporting date is the carrying value of each class of financial assets, such as accounts receivables, other short-term receivables, and other non-current assets. TGS evaluates the concentration of risk with respect to trade receivables as low due to the Company's credit rating policies and as the clients are mainly large energy companies considered to be financially sound. Due to the current market situation, TGS has also increased focus on credit checks and monitoring of receivables.

TGS is highly focused on maintaining adequate internal controls. The Company's primary business activity is building its multi-client geoscientific data library, which represents its largest financial asset, through multiple investments in new data for licensing to clients. TGS utilizes custom investment proposal models and reporting tools in order to assess and monitor the status and performance of the Company's multi-client projects. Reference is made to Note 13 to the financial statements and the more detailed information on risk management and internal control in the Corporate Governance section of the Annual Report.


Organization, Working Environment and Equal Opportunity 
Following two organizational restructuring processes during 2015, TGS initiated a further down-sizing initiative during 2016 to remove management layers from the organization and to ensure that the company operates at a staffing level consistent with activity. As a result the global workforce has been reduced by approximately 35% over the last two years. This reduction, combined with the challenging market environment, continues to cause some stress and uncertainty in the organization, which is reflected in the results from the 2016 Employee Engagement Survey. Overall Engagement Capital (measured by an independent third party, CEB) fell to 60% in 2016, which is down from 72% in the 2013 Survey. However, this is still on a par with the cross-industry benchmark comprising 400 similar-sized companies from more than 20 industries. Furthermore, TGS continues to significantly outperform the benchmark in areas such as culture, values, commitment and discretionary effort. This was evident in the efforts made by employees during 2016 as staff went above and beyond to close deals, deliver data and contribute to a great team success in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The Parent Company had 43 employees as of 31 December 2016. At year-end, TGS had a total of 614 employees in the following locations: 409 employees in the United States, 43 employees in Norway, 98 employees in the United Kingdom, 50 employees in Canada, 12 employees in Australia and 2 employees in other countries. The average number of employees during 2016 was 644.

The Board considers the working environment in the Company to be good. The Board and management believe that employees of diversified gender, age, ethnicity and nationality are provided with equal opportunity and treated fairly within the Company, and have not considered it necessary to take special measures to prevent any discrimination.

At the end of 2016, women comprised 43% of the total workforce in the Company, which is higher than the prior year (41% in 2015). The corresponding figure for managers is 29% at the end of 2016, also up on the prior year (26% in 2015).


Health, Safety and Environmental Issues 
TGS interacts with the external environment through the collection of seismic, gravity and magnetic data and the operation of offshore vessels, land crews and aircraft. TGS is dedicated to safeguarding and maintaining the environment in which the Company works and providing a safe and healthy workplace for employees and contractors through the active implementation of a comprehensive HSE Management System that includes appropriate policies and procedures. Not only does TGS comply with mandated legislation and local regulations, the Company also works closely with industry associations in an effort to investigate ways to mitigate the impact of seismic operations on the environment. TGS typically conducts environmental impact assessments as part of the permitting process prior to initiating seismic data acquisition. Additionally TGS works with the vessel owners and seismic contractors through the Subcontractor Management System to ensure compliance under the TGS sustainability program.

In 2016, TGS employees worked 1,103,828 man-hours. We had one lost time employee injury, which was incurred in one of the offices. The injury frequency rate for 2016 was 0.18 per million man-hours. The sickness absence frequency for TGS in 2016 was 1.11% as compared to 0.53 % in 2015.

As part of the continuous improvement strategy, Management participates in audits of office locations, and all TGS staff completed two training modules and are assessed on active HSE commitment during annual performance reviews.

In 2016, all TGS Executive Team members conducted at least 1 HSE facility inspection. All office locations performed at least one HSE related lunch and learn activity. This included activities such as First Aid / CPR Training, Bicycle Safety, Home Safety, and Fire Extinguisher Training.

Corporate Social Responsibility Report 
TGS has prepared a Corporate Social Responsibility Report in accordance with the Norwegian Accounting Act, section 3-3c. It is the opinion of the Board of Directors that the Company complies with the reporting requirements. TGS' Corporate Social Responsibility Policy is included as a separate section of this Annual Report and on TGS' website at


Board Structure and Corporate Governance        
The Board of Directors consists of eight directors, each serving a one-year term. The Board's Audit and Compensation Committees are composed exclusively by independent directors. No material transactions other than the remuneration disclosed in note 7 have occurred in 2016 between the Company and its management, Directors or shareholders.

The independent Nomination Committee, elected by the shareholders, consists of the following members:

Tor Himberg-Larsen (Chairman), Christina Stray, and Herman Kleeven.

Himberg-Larsen and Stray were elected for a two-year term at the Annual General Meeting on 6 May 2015, while Kleeven was elected for a two-year term on 10 May 2016.

TGS emphasizes independence and integrity in all matters among the Board, management and the shareholders.

TGS conducts an active compliance program designed to continually inform and educate employees on ethical and legal issues. The Company employs a full-time Board-appointed compliance officer who reports quarterly on progress on compliance activities and objectives.

TGS has based its corporate governance policies and practices on the Norwegian Code of Practice for Corporate Governance published on 30 October 2014. It is the opinion of the Board of Directors that the Company complies in all areas with the Code of Practice and any subsequent amendments. A more detailed description of how TGS complies with the Code of Practice and the Norwegian Accounting Act's requirements for reporting on corporate governance is included in the Report on Corporate Governance included in this Annual Report and on TGS' website at

Salary and Other Compensation 
TGS compensates its employees according to market conditions that are reviewed on an annual basis by the Compensation Committee. Compensation includes base salary, insurance and retirement benefit programs, a profit-sharing bonus plan based on the Company's performance and, in certain cases stock options plans or other long-term incentive programs. For further details please refer to item 12 in the Report on Corporate Governance and the Declaration on Executive Remuneration.

The members of the Board of Directors do not participate in any bonus plan, profit-sharing plan or stock option plan. In recent years, the directors' compensation has been composed of both a fixed fee and a number of restricted TGS shares. The remuneration is not related to the Company's financial result. Refer to note 7 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for details on the remuneration for 2016.


Significant Litigation        
The Board is regularly updated on significant litigation matters. As a result, at each meeting the Board receives an update on the Økokrim criminal charges and investigation as well as related civil claims. See note 21 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for further details and section "Events after the Balance Sheet Date" below.


The global seismic market is likely to remain challenging in the near-term. Oil companies are still careful with their spending and although there are some signs of a flattish or even slightly increasing development in exploration activity, the monetary value of spending is likely to be lower in 2017 compared to 2016. This means that it is important for TGS to continue focusing on cash flow and maintaining strict cost control.

Due to the substantial reduction of exploration budgets, discovery of new hydrocarbon resources dropped to historically low levels over the past couple of years. This has driven reserve replacement ratios down to unsustainably low levels. Oil companies will need to increase exploration efforts at some stage in order to grow production levels in the longer term to meet the long-term oil demand, which is likely to continue to increase in the foreseeable future.

Simultaneously, both the E&P sector and the service industry are continuing to cut costs, leading to substantial reduction of marginal costs of bringing new resources on stream. TGS has reduced cash operating expenses by 40% from 2014 to 2016, enabling the company to continue to deliver quality products to customers at a lower cost.

In accordance with its counter-cyclical investment strategy, the Company has over the past couple of years added substantial amounts of data to its multi-client library at attractive unit cost through both organic and inorganic investments. This should, in combination with an efficient cost base, strong balance sheet and flexible business model, put TGS in a unique position to continue enhancing its status as the world's leading multi-client geophysical company in the years to come.

These forward-looking statements reflect current views about future events and are, by their nature, subject to significant risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict because they relate to events, and depend on circumstances, that will occur in the future.

Events after the Balance Sheet Date        
On 2 March 2017, Økokrim issued a corporate fine of NOK 85 million (approximately USD 10 million) against TGS, based on alleged violations of the Tax Assessment Act related to a contract for the purchase of seismic data entered into in 2009 with Skeie Energy AS (later known as E&P Holding AS). Økokrim dismissed the charges against TGS for market manipulation in violation of the Securities Trading Act due to insufficient evidence. The Company has rejected the fine, and a trial regarding the alleged violations is expected to occur in late 2017 or early 2018.

On 17 January 2017, TGS, together with certain subsidiaries of Petroleum Geo-Services ASA, concluded the acquisition of the majority of the multi-client library of Dolphin UK Ltd. See section "Mergers and Acquisitions" above and note 25 to the Consolidated Financial Statements" for further details.

To the best of the Directors' knowledge, no other subsequent events have occurred that would impact the accounts as presented for 2016 have occurred since 31 December 2016.


Annual result of the Parent Company and Allocation of Profit        
The Board proposes that the Parent Company's net profit of USD 2.2 million shall be allocated as follows:

Allocated to Other Equity                                    USD 2.2 million

The Board of Directors resolved on 1 February 2017 to pay a quarterly dividend of USD 15.2 million (NOK equivalent of 1.23 per share) from the 2015 financial statements, which is covered by other equity

The Board of Directors would like to thank all employees for their good efforts throughout the year.


23 March 2017 

BOD sig  

Confirmation from the Board of Directors and CEO 
We confirm, to the best of our knowledge that the financial statements for the period 1 January to 31 December 2016 have been prepared in accordance with current applicable accounting standards, and give a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities, financial position and profit or loss of the entity and the group taken as a whole. We also confirm that this report of the Board of Directors with references to the notes to the accounts and the Corporate Governance section of the Annual Report includes a true and fair review of the development and performance of the business and the position of TGS, together with a description of the principal risks and uncertainties facing the Company.

23 March 2017 

BOD sig