Energy firm BG Group said yesterday it expected the restart of production at the Elgin-Franklin field to contribute to a stronger 2013 in the North Sea.
It hopes the development will resume output before the end of next month after a gas leak last March.
BG said that, with a temporary shutdown of the huge Buzzard project on the UK continental shelf, the halt at Elgin-Franklin meant production in the UK had fallen below expectations in 2012.
It came as the company revealed turnover rose 7.5% to £12.2billion in 2012, but operating profits slid 11% at £3.9billion and the pre-tax surplus fell 12% to £4billion.
BG – which employs about 600 people in the north-east – described the Elgin-Franklin field restart as a “key uncertainty” in its results yesterday, but said its UK output in 2013 would be higher than the 35.2million barrels of oil equivalent (mboe) it produced last year.
It said the increase would be helped by Jasmine coming on stream, adding that the project – operated by ConocoPhillips and thought to hold 170million barrels of recoverable oil – was expected to produce first oil in the final quarter of the year.
BG also said it had invested nearly £100million in UK exploration last year and added about 200mboe to its reserves and resources in the country.
Although output from UK operations fell short, BG said global production increased by 3% to 658,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd).
The firm predicted 2013 output would be 630,000-660,000boepd, however, because it would be held back by delays to the company’s major projects offshore Australia and Brazil and plans to scale back its US shale gas operations. BG chief executive Chris Finlayson – a former Shell boss in Aberdeen – said he believed that the forecast was appropriate “given the risk and opportunities we face”.
Mr Finlayson added that the company’s production target for 2015 – to produce 1million boepd worldwide – would now not be reached.