The next few months will see North Sea-focused Ithaca Energy double its net production to around 10,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day by bringing its Athena field online, according to analysts who follow the firm.
Ithaca announced Thursday that its 2011 average rate of production was 4,370 boepd net to the company. This came in slightly behind the forecast of investment bank Cenkos Securities (which is also the company's broker), although Ithaca's current production rate has increased to 5,010 boepd net.
The company's production during the year came from its Beatrice, Jacky and Anglia fields, where it is the operator, as well as from the non-operated Topaz, Cook and Broom fields. The Cook field suffered downtime during the last quarter of 2011 due to the partial failure of a subsea control module; production was fully restored after this module was replaced.
The Athena field, which is located offshore Scotland in the Outer Moray Firth, has been independently estimated to contain gross 2P reserves of 24.4 million barrels of oil. Cenkos stated in a research note Thursday that it expects first oil from the field to double daily production to around 10,000 boepd.
The investment bank also pointed out that the firm's recent Broom acquisition will also enhance net production by around 450 boepd.
At the moment, the BW Athena Floating Production, Storage and Offtake (FPSO) vessel is undergoing final conversion work at Dubai Dry Dock World. Ithaca said Thursday that the vessel is scheduled to begin its transfer from Dubai to the UK in mid-February.
RBC Capital Markets said that it expected the completion of the Athena development to take place in March/April. "Previous guidance has been for the voyage to the North Sea and final hook-up of the wells to take around 35 days," said James Hosie, an analyst who follows Ithaca for RBC.
Ithaca also issued guidance in which it said it anticipated capital expenditure to be approximately $210 million during 2012. This will include $2.6 million on Athena to take the development to first oil.
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