Premier Oil rewards chief executive Tony Durrant with a pay rise for his work during the downturn in the market

Courtney Goldsmith
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Premier Oil rewarded its boss with a hefty bonus in 2016 (Source: Getty)

The boss of North Sea-focused oil producer Premier Oil received a remuneration package of £1.4m in 2016, up a third from the previous year, due to his work to cut costs while oil prices were low.

The main increase to chief executive Tony Durrant's pay was a surge in his annual bonus, which jumped from £56,000 in 2015 to £378,400 last year, equal to 66.5 per cent of his salary.

Durrant's bonus had been capped at 10 per cent of his salary in 2015 due to the downturn in the market, which took a toll on Premier's balance sheet.

The London-listed firm is in the midst of a prolonged period of refinancing discussions with lenders which Durrant said last month is nearing its end.

In March, it reported net debt increased to $2.8bn by the end of 2016, up from $2.2bn the previous year. However, Premier noted debts were down from peak levels reached in the third quarter of 2016.

The group reported a loss before tax of $390.6m (£313.4m) for 2016 after racking up an $829.6m loss the previous year.

The remuneration committee said it awarded the boss' higher bonus based on his "leadership and execution of low-oil price environment strategy, driving down cost, re-balancing the portfolio and ensuring future balance sheet recovery whilst retaining growth upside through high operational integrity".

Director of exploration Robin Allen received a £227,815 bonus due to his work integrating E.On's North Sea assets, the committee said.

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