Premier Oil’s debt reduction drive will “accelerate” at current oil prices as production from its Catcher field ramps up, the firm said today.
Premier also said engineering and design work on the Tolmount field in the southern North Sea was “progressing well”.
The £1.2billion Catcher project produced first oil last month and is currently pumping out about 20,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd).
Premier expects to reach peak production of 60,000 bopd in the first sixth months of this year.
The company’s net debt stood at £2billion at the end of 2017, a year in which it completed a comprehensive refinancing.
It had debts of £2.07billion at year-end 2016.
The London-headquartered company was boosted by the sale of assets worth more than £150million in 2017.
The divestment of UK licences containing the Wytch Farm field to Perenco generated £100million.
For Tolmount, Premier is weighing up tenders received for the pipeline and platform needed for the development.
Premier, as operator, expects to sanction the project in 2018.
An appraisal programme for the Zama field offshore Mexico, in which Premier holds a stake, should start later this year or early in 2019.
Premier chief executive Tony Durrant said: “First oil from Catcher and the completion of the Wytch Farm disposal completed a highly successful year for Premier which included our world class exploration success with the Zama discovery.
“As Catcher builds up to 60,000 bopd, 2018 will bring higher production and cashflow, continuing the debt reduction programme.
“Alongside this, our portfolio of future projects is being progressed for selective investment and further growth.”