Oil and gas explorer Premier Oil said today a higher-than-expected increase in UK North Sea production fuelled a 7% rise in first half profits.
But it left its 2014 output target unchanged at 58,000-63,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day.
The company also said it was well-funded, with about £300million in operating cash flow that it will use to finance its exploration campaigns, mainly in Kenya, Norway and the Falkland Islands, and dividend payments.
Total first half production was up 11%, at 64,900 boe per day, ahead of expectations.
The increase was helped by a resumption of output from the North Sea Kyle field, which shut down in December 2011 after the Banff floating production, storage and offloading vessel lost its anchors and suffered damage in bad weather.
Premier said pre-tax profits slumped to £30.7million in the six months to June 30, from £129.4million a year earlier.
But the company highlighted a 7% increase in after-tax profits to £104million after a £73.5million boost from UK tax credits in the period.
Sales and other operating revenues came in at £533.5million, up from about £457million previously.
Chief executive Tony Durrant, who took over the helm from Simon Lockett last August, said: “It has been a strong six months for Premier, with the company performing well on all fronts.
“We continue to exceed our production expectations, have achieved significant milestones on our key developments, had notable exploration success in Indonesia and advanced our non-core asset disposal programme.
“Increased production has driven significantly rising cash flows and our robust financial position has supported renewal of our principal bank facility on improved terms.”
He added: “Our focus continues to be on maintaining momentum and delivery of our near-term priorities.”
These include first oil from the 40million-barrel Solan oilfield west of Shetland.
Premier is also waiting for field development plan approval for its Sea Lion project in the Falklands.