Premier Oil chief executive Tony Durrant hopes first oil from the North Sea’s Catcher field – due next month – will signal a new chapter for the operator.
It comes after a tough few years for the firm, who battled a large debt pile before completing a refinancing earlier this year.
And Mr Durrant said he hopes the Catcher field, 100 miles off the coast of Aberdeen, will also help erase the memories of the firm’s troubles with the Solan development off the west of Shetland.
The Solan project was around 18 months late and over budget when it finally came on stream last year, by which time Premier had bought up the remaining interest in the ownership of the field.
But the chief executive said he has few concerns that the company would repeat the mistakes of the past.
The Catcher has been developed using a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel, a method that has worked in Premier’s favour in the past.
Mr Durrant said: “I’ve always felt pretty comfortable with Catcher as I felt that we had the right contractors, the right project team and we had our arms around the project in a way that with our West of Shetland project Solan we never quite managed to do, for all sorts of reasons.
“In the outside world a lot of people in their minds focus on Solan because it was not a good outcome.
“But what people forget is that over the years Premier has done a lot of operated projects, admittedly more in Asia than in the North Sea.
“And in the world of FPSO projects we have a pretty good track record.
“Catcher in that sense, is just another successful project. The one that is unusual but seems to have captured our reputation is Solan.”
With a refinancing now under its belt Mr Durrant said the firm’s aim now was to “beat the business plan”.
He added: “As long as we do that then I’ll be happy.”
Accordingly, operating costs are at $16/bbl with capex below budget for the year. Forecasted 2017 development, exploration and abandonment expenditure is expected to be $300-310 million, down from previous guidance of $325 million.
Premier also intends to keep the Voyageur Spirit FPSO vessel at the Huntington field in the North Sea until April 2019. With 13,000 barrels a day coming through the facility Premier managed to do a deal with vessel owner Teekay for a lowered lease. In return Teekay get an upside from increases in production and efficiency.