Faroe Petroleum, of Aberdeen, said yesterday it was confident about the year ahead despite reporting pre-tax losses of £26million in 2010.
The company, which is focused on oil and gas exploration in the North Sea and the Atlantic, said it planned to drill seven wells before the year-end, including three west of Shetland.
It said 2010 had been its most successful year yet after reporting revenue of £15.1million to December 31, compared with £7million in 2009. Pre-tax losses in 2009 were £11.7million.
Faroe Petroleum made two discoveries in the Norwegian Halten Terrace last year – Maria and Fogelberg – and also acquired 18% of the Blane field in the central North Sea in October. It now hopes to add to those discoveries with 17 wells planned before the end of 2013, including the seven due to start this year.
Faroe said drilling at one of the west Shetland exploration wells, Lagavulin, was only weeks away from reaching target depth, while drilling was expected to start at another well in the region, Fulla, in May or June. The company produced about 1,200 barrels of oil equivalent per day last year.
Chief executive Graham Stewart said 2010 had been an outstanding 12 months, adding: “We built on the drilling success of 2009 with two further significant discoveries in Norway on Maria and Fogelberg.
“We will increase substantially our production following completion of the acquisition of 18% of the Blane oil field, and our finances are strong on the back of successful equity fundraisings. We look to the future with confidence as we execute our very active drilling programme.”
Mr Stewart said his company would be sheltered from the Budget tax rise on North Sea producers in the near term because it had carried forward UK tax losses of more than £67million.
Antrim Energy outlined plans yesterday for drilling two wells in the Greater Fyne area in the central North Sea. AGR Peak Well Management is to provide well project-management and drilling services, including the semisubmersible rig WilPhoenix.
Both wells are due to be drilled in the middle of this year. The first will target the Jurassic Fulmar formation on the West Teal prospect.
Antrim said there was a light oil target delineated by 3D seismic data, and a previous discovery well drilled in 1991 which had encountered a gross oil column up to 140 feet thick in the Fulmar formation but was abandoned after mechanical problems during a cased-hole test.
The second will target the Eocene Tay formation on the Carra prospect.
Antrim said Carra was a medium-gravity target delineated by 3D seismic data.
It added: “If successful, a discovery on either of these prospects would add significant resources to the scheduled development of the Fyne field.”
Antrim said it intended to use the proceeds from its recent equity issue to fund the drilling programme, but would also invite participation from industry partners.