Verus Petroleum toasts ‘transformational’ 2018 as profits increase six-fold

Alan Curran, chief executive of Verus Petroleum
Alan Curran, chief executive of Verus Petroleum

Verus Petroleum has toasted a “transformational year” as it saw profits increase six-fold in 2018.

Posting its full year accounts, the North Sea operator took in pre-tax profits of £58.2million, up from £9.7m in 2017.

Meanwhile revenues for the group more than doubled from £34.5m in 2017 to £90m.

Late last year the company acquired stakes in several new assets in a series of deals, including the Western Isles, Hudson, and Alba oil fields and the Babbage gas field.

Increased output from the Boa field, coupled with a month of production from its new assets, saw oil production jump from 594,000 barrels of oil equivalent in 2017 to 1.4million barrels in 2018.

Boa, which straddles the UK-Norwegian boarder in the North Sea, has “exceeded expectations” with production doubling during the year thanks to two new wells coming on stream in February 2018.

Looking to the year ahead, the firm said there is a firm commitment to drill an exploration well at the Python discovery, which operator Spirit Energy previously said would be in Q2.

Verus, based at the Silver Fin building on Aberdeen’s Union Street, was launched in 2014 by private equity firm HitecVision.

In February it was reported that Verus was being put up for sale, although the company said it would not respond to “rumour and speculation”.

In its accounts, the firm said there is “no significant change” expected for the business in the foreseeable future.

One of the major deals Verus completed last year was a £300m acquisition of Cieco Exploration and Production.

It included a 23.1% stake in the Western Isles FPSO and a 25.8% stake in the Hudson field, both operated by Dana Petroleum.

Verus also took on a 2% interest in the Brent Pipeline System and a 1.2% stake of the Sullom Voe terminal in Shetland.

In December Verus acquired a 47% interest in the Babbage gas field and days later took on Equinor’s 17% interest in the Alba field, currently operated by Chevron.

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