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Production from Athena under way

Production from  Athena under way
North Sea oil firm Ithaca Energy said yesterday it had started oil production from the Athena field.

North Sea oil firm Ithaca Energy said yesterday it had started oil production from the Athena field.

It added: “The initial operations phase of the field is in line with management’s expectations and proceeding as planned.”

The joint-venture partners in Athena, 112 miles north-east of Aberdeen, alongside operator Ithaca are Dyas UK, EWE Energie and Zeus Petroleum.

Trap Oil said in March it was acquiring a 15% stake in Athena from Dyas for £34.5million, in a “game-changing” deal it had chased since its flotation nearly a year ago.

Yesterday, Trap chief executive Mark Groves Gidney said: “Ithaca Energy’s announcement is great news. We expect our acquisition of an initial 10% interest in Athena to complete in Q2 2012, with the balance . . . due by October 31 for a further 5%. It is most encouraging that production has commenced.”

Athena’s core development area has an estimated 14.3million barrels, unaudited, of recoverable oil.

One of the four Russian entrepreneurs who share control of the country’s third largest oil producer with BP has resigned as head of the joint-venture.

BP said Mikhail Fridman had stepped down for personal reasons but a source at the Alfa-Access-Renova consortium, which represents the Russians’ interest in TNK-BP, said they had lost trust in the UK oil major as their partner.

Governance at TNK-BP has been on the brink of collapse since the acrimonious resignation of two independent directors at the end of last year; only one of whom has been replaced.

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