Catcher buoys Premier Oil and Cairn Energy at $70-barrel as Hurricane Energy stays on schedule for Lancaster field first-oil in Summer 2019

Hurricane Energy has started the offshore phase of the early production system on its Lancaster field west of Shetland with the installation of enhanced horizontal Xmas trees on the two existing wells.

Chief executive Robert Trice also said that development work remains on budget and on schedule for first-oil in Summer 2019.

Meanwhile, Tony Durrant, Chief Executive of Premier Oil said the company’s near-future cash-flow and balance-sheet prospects are looking positive with the crude oil price floating around the $70-barrel level for most of the past six months.

Speaking at the company’s annual meeting, he said: “The improved wholesale oil price puts us in a strong position to generate significant free cash flow in the second half of the year.

“At the same time, our underlying production portfolio is robust – the Catcher field is now producing 60 kbopd – our low cost base has been maintained –  our capital spend is reducing and we are on track to deliver material debt reduction in 2018 and 2019.”

Full-year guidance for operating cost per barrel of $17-$18 is maintained. Over the quarter, operating costs averaged $18.8-barrel because of constrained production from Catcher.  

The Catcher field floating production boat
The Catcher field floating production boat

The Catcher field – in which Edinburgh-based Cairn Energy has a minority stake – also pumped its first oil this year for the Scottish oil minnow.

Chief executive Simon Thomson also told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting that Cairn expects to book first-oil from its 20% stake in Norway’s Nova field in 2021.

However, Cairn is still deeply embroiled in a bitter £1.6 billion legal battle with the Indian government over an (allegedly) unpaid corporation tax bill.

17 May 2018

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