Premier Sees Record Production after 'Challenging Year'

UK independent Premier Oil reported Thursday that its production rate peaked at 75,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day during December, when the average rate was 69,000 boepd.

Premier said that average production for 2013 as a whole was 58,200 boepd, compared to an average rate of 57,700 boepd for 2012.

Commenting on the firm's production levels in a company statement, Premier Chief Executive Simon Lockett said:

"2013 was a challenging year for Premier and the wider industry as a whole. It is however pleasing that production reached record levels towards the end of the year, that four new projects will achieve first oil and gas in 2014 and that our mid- to longer-term projects, including Bream, Catcher and Sea Lion, have taken significant steps forward. We are also pleased our exploration record improved in 2013 as we refocus on selective new basins with material upside."

The projects scheduled to deliver their first hydrocarbons in 2014 include: the Vietnamese Dua project, which is expected to produce first oil during the third quarter of 2014; Indonesia's Naga-Pelikan projects, where first gas is expected during the second half of the year; and the Solan project in the North Sea, where first oil is due in 4Q 2014.

Premier said that while its fields are capable of producing in excess of 75,000 boepd, it forecasts output in 2014 of between 58,000 and 63,000 boepd. This is due to production efficiency and planned maintenance periods.

Analysts at London-based investment bank FirstEnergy said that they felt this production guidance is "too conservative" in light of current production and the contribution in 2014 of the Huntington and West Rochelle fields in the North Sea as well as greater production at Chim Sao in Vietnam and Indonesia, along with the UK's Kyle field, due to their return to normality after an "exceptionally difficult year".

A former engineer, Jon is an award-winning editor who has covered the technology, engineering and energy sectors since the mid-1990s. Email Jon at jmainwaring@rigzone.com

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