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Apache Corp. upbeat about North Sea oil

HOUSTON, July 7 (UPI) -- U.S. energy explorer Apache Corp. said parts of its Forties field in the British waters of the North Sea are producing oil at the highest rates since 1990.

Apache, which has headquarters in Texas, announced it started production at the Charlie 4-3 well at a rate of 12,567 barrels of oil per day. The initial production rate is the highest since 1990. Charlie 2-2 was completed in March with an initial production rate of 11,876 bpd, the company said.

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The company said the Forties field was producing oil at a rate of 40,000 bpd when it was acquired in 2003. New wells in June boosted daily production rates to 70,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, the company said.

Apache Regional Vice President James House said in a statement that the success of the drilling program "reflects the experience, teamwork, technical skill and commitment of the Apache North Sea region."

The company said the Forties field is the single largest oil accumulation discovered in the region.

North Sea producers are examining the bottom line of production after the British government increased taxes for energy companies working in the region.

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