Bridge Energy restarts Duart field after £86m funds secured

BRIDGE Energy, the oil and gas explorer, has resumed production at its key Duart field in the North Sea after securing an £86 million funding package backed by RBS.Duart was acquired from Nexen Petroleum in December but had been out of action since October.

Bridge, formed in 2010 by a merger of Aberdeen-based Silverstone and Norwegian Bridge Energy, said revenues this year should be boosted by increased oil prices.

Bridge, listed in Oslo, recently secured two significant credit facilities from a syndicate of banks including RBS to fund its growth and exploration plans.

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A £42m refinancing package from a syndicate led by the bank’s oil and gas team provided cash for its acquisition of a 50 per cent equity interest in Duart and for the development of its Victoria II gas field in the North Sea.

RBS was also instrumental in the provision of a £44.8m exploration financing facility to support Bridge’s campaign in Norway over the next three years.

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The Duart acquisition has added 750 barrels of oil per day to Bridge’s production capability, putting it on track to meet its ambitions to become a leading oil and gas independent in the North Sea.

Tom Reynolds, deputy chief executive officer of Bridge, said the finance facilities would help support its “exciting exploration campaign” in 2012 and 2013.

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“We are very pleased to announce the restart of production from the Duart field. Following the extended shutdown, we can expect higher sustained production levels from the field which, combined with the production revenues from our Victoria field production, supports our ongoing exploration programme.”

Bridge has 11 exploration licenses on the Norwegian continental shelf and interests in several discoveries which are being evaluated for possible development. RBS invested £400m in the oil and gas sector in the UK and Norway in late 2011.