Tullow sees profits surge as Uganda deal comes to close

British oil firm Tullow Oil said it expected to conclude a long-awaited deal in Uganda in September as it posted soaring first half profits and doubled its dividend.

Tullow has been waiting since last year to finalise a deal to bring in new partners French oil major Total and Chinese group CNOOC to start a $10 billion oil development project in Uganda.

"While delays to the farm-down to CNOOC and Total have been frustrating, we now expect completion in September," Aidan Heavey chief executive said in a statement on Wednesday as the company reported its first half results.

Tullow, which has assets across Africa and in the North Sea, posted pre-tax profit of $540m (£327.6m) in the six months to 30 June, a 312 per cent jump compared to the year earlier period, beating a consensus forecast of $509m from a company-supplied poll of analysts.

Profits were boosted by a higher oil price and from the company's ramp up in production at its Jubilee field in Ghana.

The company said it planned to double the interim dividend to 4 pence per share to reflect the fundamental change in its finances brought about by bringing Jubilee onstream.

Tullow revised down its guidance for full-year oil production to between 82,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) to 84,000 bopd from a forecast of 90,000 bopd to 94,000 given in July, due to rig delays at Jubilee.

The downgrade was widely expected by analysts following an update by Kosmos Energy, Tullow's partner in the Jubilee field, earlier in August.