LONDON, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Dragon Oil will pay shareholders an interim dividend of 20 cents per share, a third higher than last year, following a strong performance in the first half of the year, the Turkmenistan-focused oil explorer said on Tuesday.
The company reported a 20 percent rise in operating profit to $388.5 million on revenue up 11 percent at $547 million in the first six months of year.
The oil explorer benefited from selling its crude at a higher price and lifting higher volumes from its key Cheleken fields in Turkmenistan.
Chief Executive Abdul Jaleel Al Khalifa said a higher dividend payment was a good indication that the company's full-year dividend would also be higher than the prior year.
Dragon said it was on track to reach a production level of 100,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) in 2015 and a daily rate of between 87,000 and 90,000 bopd this year.
Volume growth for 2014 will be concentrated in the second half of the year as another seven to nine wells are targetd to be completed by year end.
The company is looking for growth in new markets such as southeast Asia where it has already entered via the Philippines.
Despite disappointing drilling results there, which led to an $18.1 million impairment charge, Al Khalifa said Dragon was looking at further opportunities in nearby Indonesia, Vietnam or Thailand.
The oil explorer is also active in Iraq where its drilling work has reached first targets and operations are continuing safely despite tensions elsewhere in the region.
(Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Editing by Louise Heavens and David Holmes)
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