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Tullow lowers expectations for West African oil

Despite slow progress in 2016, company said its in a good position to pay off its debts.

By
Daniel J. Graeber
Tullow Oil said it could be ready for some degree of recovery next year, but cut its spending and production targets for the year. Photo courtesy of Tullow Oil
Tullow Oil said it could be ready for some degree of recovery next year, but cut its spending and production targets for the year. Photo courtesy of Tullow Oil

LONDON, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Africa-focused Tullow Oil said it was on the verge of turning the market page, but cut spending and lowered its West African forecast before full recovery.

"As we exit 2016, we are well placed to begin the process of both refinancing and paying down our debt in 2017," Tullow CEO Aidan Heavy said in a statement.

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The company, which has offices in London, recorded a $30 million profit for the first half of 2016, following a loss last year of $68 million, noting pressure from lower crude oil prices and reduced output from its Jubilee oil field off the coast of West Africa were offset by lower costs elsewhere in its portfolio.

The company said Wednesday, however, it was cutting its capital spending plan for the year by 10 percent to $900 million and slashed its 2017 target to a range of $300 million to $500 million.

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On output, Tullow said its West African production was lowered by about 3 percent to a low-end estimate of 62,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, largest as a result of operations at its Tweneboa Enyenra Ntomme, or TEN, field off the coast of Ghana.

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The company said TEN's expected production was lowered because commissioning of existing facilities at the offshore field was moving slower than expected.

For its Jubilee oil field, operations were restricted last year by technical issues at a gas compression system and the company in early April said part of the so-called Kwame Nkrumah floating production storage and offloading facility positioned off the Ghanaian coast was damaged and no longer functioning as designed.

The company said in late September its insurance covered the loss of production and claims regarding the interruption of business offshore Ghana.

Tullow in October secured $345 million from lenders to help cover some of its debt, support it said would clear up some space for refinancing by next year.

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