North Sea-focused Ithaca Energy has issued a cautious guidance statement for 2013 after producing a robust performance in the final quarter of last year.
The oil and gas junior's production figure of 6,631 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) for 4Q 2012 was in line with forecasts, according to analysts at Cenkos Securities and RBC Europe, in spite of the firm suffering lengthy production outages at its Anglia and Topaz fields.
Ithaca said that production during 4Q 2012 benefited from a strong performance from the Athena field, where it is operator. Athena continues to produce "dry" oil at a stable gross daily rate of between 10,000 and 11,000 boepd – with between 2,250 and 2,475 of this going to Ithaca.
For 2013, Ithaca expects export production to be similar to that for the final quarter of 2012 at between 6,000 and 6,700 boepd. Approximately 80-percent of the firm's total net production is anticipated to be derived from the firm's Cook, Athena and Beatrice/Jacky fields.
Ithaca added that this production guidance reflects anticipated water breakthrough at the Athena field during 2013 as well as the impact of planned maintenance shutdowns.
Meanwhile, Ithaca expects to spend a total of $360 million in 2013, with almost all of this being focused on the company's execution of the Greater Stella Area development that is scheduled for the latter part of the current quarter.
Analysts at RBC Europe pointed out that investment in the Greater Stella Area project is "set to deliver dramatic production growth through 2014-15".
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