Exploration and production firm Apache swung back into the black in the first quarter despite suffering a 22% drop in UK North Sea production levels.
Apache said the Forties field, offshore UK, was impacted by extended compressor downtime during the reporting period, lowering its North Sea output to 53,199 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day.
And output will be constrained in the second and third quarters while Apache carries out maintenance work during the Forties pipeline shutdown.
Operator Ineos is closing the pipeline for three weeks, starting May 27, to allow it to upgrade the system.
On a positive note, two recent development wells at the Beryl field are delivering strong results, with initial rates in excess of 5,000 barrels per day from each.
Group production at Apache, which also has assets in the US and Egypt, dropped 18% year-on-year to 382,401 boe per day.
The average oil price per barrel climbed to $59.62 from $48.31 in the same period last year, offsetting the production decline and helping Apache to revenues of $1.87 billion, up 39%.
Pre-tax profits totalled $620 million in Q1 2021, against losses of $4.56bn in the corresponding period last year.
Apache’s figures for the first quarter of 2020 were dented by impairments of $4.47bn, related to the oil price rout.
Other operational highlights for the first three months of the year included a fourth consecutive discovery in Block 58, offshore Suriname, at the Keskesi East-1 well.
Apache also revamped its legal structure with the formation of APA Corporation as a holding company.
Chief executive John Christmann said the company had made excellent progress with free cash flow generation, of more than $500m, and net debt reduction during the reporting period.
Net debts totalled $8.17bn at the end of March, compared with $8.51bn at year end.
Mr Christmann added: “Looking ahead, our full-year 2021 guidance is unchanged, and we have clear visibility into at least $1bn of free cash flow generation for the year, the vast majority of which will be directed to reducing net debt.”