July 12 (UPI) -- British energy company Premiere Oil said Thursday production in the first half of the year was lower than expected, but offset by its flagship Catcher basin.
Premiere said net production during the first six months of the year averaged 76,100 barrels of oil equivalent per day, below its full-year guidance of 80,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. The company attributed the decline to the sale of some of its assets and natural field maturation.
Royal Dutch Shell started the process of taking down legacy operations at the Bravo production platform in the North Sea last year. The Bravo platform supported Brent oil field development, but the platform was closed down in 2014.
Field maturation has forced the idling of several production platforms and Shell is in the midst of a multi-million-dollar plan to take them down. There's been a push, however, for a new era offshore. After the Dutch supermajor announced its final investment decision for its first manned installation in the North Sea in nearly 30 years, trade group Oil & Gas UK said it could be the start of the next chapter for British waters.
Premiere said Thursday that its Catcher prospect in the region has been consistent with a production range of around 60,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, close to its peak performance.
"Catcher delivering stable plateau production is an important milestone for Premier," Chief Executive Tony Durrant said in a statement.
Premier Oil, the field's operator, lifted the first cargo from Catcher in January, earlier than expected. Production in late December, using a floating production vessel parked over the three fields that make up Catcher, was around 10,000 barrels per day. Reaching the 60,000 barrels per day plateau is on par with expectations.
The complex, comprised of the Catcher, Burgman and Varadero fields, was discovered in 2010 by Premiere and the company at the time put the gross reserve estimate between 25 million and 50 million barrels of oil.