Afren says oil output is on the up after first half drop

PLANS for increasing production at Africa-focused oil and gas firm Afren are on track, it said yesterday, after reporting a 42 per cent drop in profits in the first half of the year after a delay in the start-up of its flagship Ebok field in Nigeria.

The London-listed company said it is now ramping up production towards its targeted 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) by the end of the year, although it dropped the upper end of the range of its average output forecast for the year.

In July it said it expected full-year production to average between 25,000 and 30,000 boepd, down from the 40,000 boepd it forecast in May.

Pre-tax profit fell to $43.7m (£26.8m) from $75.4m in the first half of last year as production fell 36 per cent to 13,000 boepd.

Afren said in July it had agreed to buy stakes in two Kurdistan operations for $588m, extending the group’s reach into the Middle East.