Premier Oil pins hopes on Huntington field

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Exploration and production firm Premier Oil today reported a 10 per cent rise in first-half profits and said it was poised for further growth as output from the Huntington field in the North Sea ramps up.

Oil began flowing from Huntington in April and initial production suffered amid technical problems, but Premier said these issue had been fixed, with production reaching around 27,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day.

However, recent weeks saw production halted during periods of calm weather because gas was being detected at deck level. This problem is expected to be solved by the end of this month.

Depending on the performance of the Huntington field, Premier is targeting full-year production of 63,000 barrels a day – up from 58,600 in the first half – following what chief executive Simon Lockett described as “one of our most successful periods of exploration, with six discoveries from seven wells”.

Pre-tax profits at the firm, which is also active in Africa, Asia, the Falklands and Norway, rose to $214.6 million (£137.6m) for the six months to 30 June, up from $194.6m a year earlier.

Lockett added: “Despite rising costs and challenging execution timetables across the industry, we see high returns on capital and strong cash flow growth as we deliver on these valuable projects.”