Strong first quarter for Afren

Oil and gas producer Afren has delivered a 'strong' start to the year, with a year-on-year increase of 14 per cent in net production.

Oil and gas producer Afren has delivered a 'strong' start to the year, with a year-on-year increase of 14 per cent in net production.

The group, which said it remains on track to deliver full year net working interest production of between 40,000 to 47,000 barrels oil per day (boepd), generated first quarter profit before tax of $150m, up five per cent on $143m in the same the previous year.

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This was despite revenue slipping four per cent from $387m to $373m year-on-year, after an eight per cent decline in the realised oil price offset a rise in net working interest production.

Osman Shahenshah, Chief Executive of Afren, said: "Afren continues to deliver strong production from our greenfield developments offshore Nigeria. Following the successful start to our 2013 E&A programme on Okwok, offshore Nigeria, and Simrit in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, we are currently drilling the West African Transform margin on OPL310 offshore Nigeria.

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"The group remains in a strong financial position supported by a growing production base, to optimally explore, appraise and develop our high quality portfolio and continue to create significant value for our shareholders."

Operational cash flow fell four per cent from $300m to $288m year-on-year.

In Nigeria, gross production averaged 19,157 barrels of oil per day (bopd) at the Okoro field during the first quarter of 2013, representing a year-on-year increase of 17%.

At the Ebok field, gross production totalled 33,513 bopd during the first quarter of 2013, also representing a year-on-year increase of 17%.

At OML 115, Afren and its partner Oriental will commence drilling the Ufon South-1 well, the first exploration well on the block in the second half of 2013, following the completion of drilling operations at OPL 310. The company is in the process of relinquishing its interests in OPL 907 and 917.

The share price 2.83% to 138p by 09:25.

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