Lundin Petroleum reports better than expected first-quarter core profit and says it is on track to boost output significantly by the end of 2015.
STOCKHOLM, May 6 (Reuters) - Lundin Petroleum reported better than expected first-quarter core profit on Wednesday and the Swedish oil and gas firm said it was on track to boost output significantly by the end of 2015.
Like most oil firms, tumbling crude prices have squeezed earnings and revenue at Lundin, which produces oil in Norway and South East Asia and whose most lucrative asset is its stake in the Norwegian 2.3 billion barrel Johan Sverdrup offshore field.
Lundin said earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) more than halved to $86.0 million in the quarter from $177.8 million a year ago but that was above the average forecast of $77.6 million in a Reuters poll.
"Our existing production, low operating costs and minimal cash taxes ensure that we continue to generate positive operating cash flow even down to low oil prices," the company said in a statement.
The company stood by its forecast for output of 41,000 to 51,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day this year and a target production rate of 75,000 barrels per day by the end of 2015, thanks to its Edvard Grieg field.
"We will deliver significant production growth with Edvard Grieg coming on stream later this year," Lundin Chief Executive Ashley Heppenstall said in a statement.
"The Johan Sverdrup project is moving forward and will be approved this year and will deliver further production growth in years to come."
(Reporting by Niklas Pollard and Johannes Hellstrom; editing by David Clarke)
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