During 2005, Venture continued to make excellent progress in the development of its business. Venture expects its financial results for the year to be within market expectations prior to IFRS accounting adjustments, subject to audit.
For 2005, annual net production averaged 29,864 barrels of oil equivalent per day ('boepd'), an increase of 74% over average 2004 production levels. During 2006 Venture expects to deliver a further significant increase in average production rate over that achieved in 2005. This will result from a full year's contribution from new projects brought on stream during 2005, together with the anticipated impact of 2006 development activity. Venture's 2005 exit production rate, as measured by the average production rate in December, was approximately 50,000 boepd. As a result of natural field decline, planned and unplanned shut-downs and other operational factors, this exit rate is not representative of an average rate for the calendar year.
As of December 31, 2005, proven and probable reserves are estimated to total 161 million barrels of oil equivalent ('MMboe'), a 29% increase over the Company's reserves at the end of 2004. This represents a reserve replacement ratio of approximately 430%, which has been achieved net of 2005 production and the sale of Venture's Trinidadian assets during the year.
Commenting on the announcement, Mike Wagstaff, chief Executive said:
'2005 was a record year for Venture, both operationally and financially. During the year we saw the benefits delivered by three years of intense commercial and field development activity. We increased production nearly four fold from the first quarter of 2005 to achieve an exit rate of approximately 50,000 boepd in December, a new record for the Company. With our withdrawal from operations in Trinidad, Venture is focused entirely on its North Sea business in which we invested over £210 million in 2005. This investment, together with our current development program is expected to continue to generate sustained growth during 2006 and beyond.'
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