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Premier Oil profits rise 60 percent
Reuters (UK)
Sep 15, 2005

LONDON (Reuters) - Premier Oil posted a 60 percent rise in its first-half net profit to $20.5 million (11.3 million pounds) on Thursday, on the back of higher prices and lower exploration costs.

Premier (PMO.L: Quote, Profile, Research) said in a statement that it had produced an average 34,800 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) in the first half, down slightly from 35,200 boepd in the same period of 2004.

Premier's new management team also outlined a change in strategy, saying the firm planned to accelerate the development of its portfolio, rather than focus on new exploration.

Chief Executive Simon Lockett, who took up his job this year, told Reuters this should enable the group to bring more production on quickly and raise output to 50,000 boepd per day by 2008.

Premier's shares were knocked by three announcements in recent weeks that drilling in India, Pakistan and Mauritania had failed to find commercial quantities of oil or gas.

The lack of success added to the firm's reputation among analysts and investors as an unlucky explorer.