During the first quarter of 2006 Lundin Petroleum generated a net profit after taxes of MSEK 419.5 (MUSD 53.9) representing a 68 percent increase as compared to the same period last year. Operating cash flow for the period was MSEK 712.5 (MUSD 91.6).
Production averaged approximately 32.6 mboepd for the quarter with a realised oil price in excess of USD 58.00 per barrel. Production during the quarter was negatively impacted by facilities issues on the Heather and Thistle platforms which reduced United Kingdom production.
one year from now. The Oudna project in Tunisia is progressing satisfactorily with the drilling of the two development wells having been successfully completed. First production remains on target for the second half of 2006. Development drilling at the Alvheim Field, offshore Norway has commenced and first production is still anticipated in the first quarter of 2007. The successful completion of these projects with increased production levels will have a material positive impact on the Company's financial performance in 2007.
Our exploration budget in 2006 is in excess of MUSD 100. The major activity will be in the second half of 2006 with anticipated drilling activity in Norway, Indonesia, Ireland, France and Sudan. We have been extremely active in Norway in recent years increasing our exploration acreage position and will commence a multi–well program later this year which has excellent potential. Exploration activity has commenced in Sudan with a seismic acquisition program in Block 5B. Exploration drilling in Block 5B is also planned to commence this year with a three well drilling program.
Oil prices have continued to strengthen. Demand for oil continues to increase as a result of the strong world economy and growth from the developing world. Supply concerns continue with many producing countries struggling to meet production targets. These issues coupled with the continuing geopolitical concerns around the world will mean that any supply disruption from the major producing countries will result in further increases in world oil prices.
C. Ashley Heppenstall, President & CEO said: "I continue to be pleased by our progress in developing Lundin Petroleum and remain confident that this will lead to further increase in shareholder value."
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