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Lundin Petroleum posts income and production gains

The Norwegian production said its operating costs last year were lower than $5 per barrel.

By
Daniel J. Graeber
Lundin Petroleum said its production improved as operating costs move below $5 per barrel. Photo courtesy of Lundin Petroleum.
Lundin Petroleum said its production improved as operating costs move below $5 per barrel. Photo courtesy of Lundin Petroleum.

Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Already expecting gains from one of Norway's biggest offshore fields, Lundin Petroleum said its full-year production last year improved by nearly 50 percent.

Lundin, primarily a Norwegian oil and gas company, reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a proxy for net income, for the fourth quarter of $429.8 billion, a year-on-year improvement of 55 percent. Full-year EBIDTA of $1.5 billion nearly doubled from 2016.

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For all of 2017, the company said its operating cost was less than $5 per barrel.

"With a continued strong performance in the fourth quarter, we delivered above expectations both in terms of record high production and record low cash operating costs for the year," President and CEO Alex Schneiter said in a statement.

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Lundin said last week its total proved plus probable -- known in the industry as 2P reserves -- were 726 million barrels of oil equivalent as of Dec. 31. Total 2P reserves as of Dec. 31 reflected an increase of 45.8 million boe, or about 7 percent.

The Edvard Grieg field in the North Sea, already in production, accounted for less than 10 percent of the total, but its 51 million barrel increase, excluding production, represented a 47 percent increase in best estimate ultimate recovery from the original forecast.

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The company this year took 14 licenses, which it set was a record, in an auction for rights offshore Norway. For all of 2017, Lundin said its production was 45 percent higher than the previous year.

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The company struggled through the market downturn that began in 2015, trimming its production guidance lower as a result of less than expected output from the Brynhild field off the coast of Norway and infrastructure delays for its Edvard Grieg rig.

Lundin holds minor shares in the Johan Sverdrup oil field, one of the largest finds in the North Sea in recent years with an estimated 3 billion barrels of oil. Schneiter said more than 65 percent of the first phase of development was completed by the end of 2017 and costs were reduced by 25 percent.

"We will also work with our partners to submit the plans for development and operation for Phase 2 of the project in the second half of 2018," he added.

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Johan Sverdrup should be in operation by the end of next year.

Apart from Russia, Norway is the top oil and natural gas supplier for the European economy, designating nearly all of its offshore production to the export market. The government reported preliminary daily figures for November, the last full month for which it published data, at 1.46 million barrels of oil, 316,000 barrels of natural gas liquid and 31,000 barrels of condensate, an ultra-light form oil.

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