Petrofac gains from Middle Eastern work

OIL services group Petrofac said it forecast a 20 per cent rise in pre-tax profit for 2010 yesterday, thanks to a strong backlog of work and new operations in the Middle East built up over the last half year.

The FTSE 100-listed firm posted revenues of $2.13bn (£1.37bn) for the last six months, which is a jump of 34 per cent on the same period in 2009.

Pre-tax profit rose 42 per cent to $145.6m for the six months to the end of June, even discounting a lucrative demerger with EnQuest involving assets in the Don oil fields in the North Sea.

Petrofac chief financial officer, Keith Roberts, said: ”There is more value to come in the Don investment, but it’s in the sub-surface, which is not our area of expertise. We sold our investment for a value of around £1 a share – a success story we hope to repeat in due course with our operations in Tunisia and Malaysia.”

The company, whose activities range from designing and building oil and gas infrastructure to safety training, said its backlog stood at $6.9bn at the end of June and had grown by another $1.1bn in July and August.

The firm has won $1.5bn of new engineering and construction orders in the year to date in Kuwait, Qatar and Iraq.