Lundin Petroleum Says Production Ramp Up On Course


OSLO, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Swedish oil firm Lundin Petroleum posted a second-quarter fall in core earnings as expected on Wednesday and said its big projects were progressing on schedule and would multiply production over the coming years.

Lundin, which has a large stake in the giant Johan Sverdrup find in the Norwegian North Sea, said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell 10 percent to $244 million, in line with expectations for $242 million.

The company kept its guidance for full-year production of 33,000-38,000 barrels per day, with output exceeding 40,000 barrels by the end of 2013 after its Brynhild project in Norway comes online in the fourth quarter, as scheduled.

"Exploration activity levels are currently at an all-time high ... (and) we are firmly committed for the foreseeable future to continue to explore in Norway," Chief Executive Ashley Heppenstall said. "Norway is still relatively under explored."

Norway has struggled with production issues recently, and big delays and cost blowouts at several projects have prompted the government to launch an investigation.

Heppenstall said Sverdrup, the biggest North Sea find in decades with a potential of up to 3.3 billion barrels, could produce over 500,000 barrels per day at its peak, with about 150,000 of those belonging to Lundin.

Most appraisal wells at Sverdrup came back with strong results, but recent wells aimed at testing the periphery of the field have been mediocre.

Statoil, which operates part of Sverdrup, drilled several dry or poor wells on the edge of field this year, which is likely to limit the field's upside potential.

In Malaysia, Lundin expects the Bertam field to produce first oil in early 2015 and plans to appraise the Tembakau gas discovery early next year.

(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; editing by Jane Baird)


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