UPDATE 1-Premier Oil may boost 2014 output forecast after strong first half

Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:44am EDT

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(Recasts with production guidance, adds details, CEO comment)

By Karolin Schaps

LONDON, July 10 (Reuters) - North Sea and southeast Asia-focused oil explorer Premier Oil may upgrade its 2014 production guidance next month after higher-than-expected output over the first half of the year, Chief Executive Tony Durrant said.

The company produced 10 percent more oil in the first six months of the year than over the same time in 2013, reaching an average output level of 64,700 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd). Premier said this had beaten its expectations without saying what those expectations had been.

"We're ahead of budget and guidance. We've not amended that guidance yet, we'll have another look at that when we announce our interims (first-half results) in August. There is a chance because of the number of good things happening," Durrant told Reuters.

Shares in Premier Oil were trading 2.2 percent higher at 330.3 pence at 0726 GMT. The company will report its half-year figures on Aug. 21.

The company produced around 56 percent more oil in Britain than over the first six months of last year, mainly due to the inclusion of new fields such as Huntington in the North Sea.

Despite the strong output, Premier Oil maintained its full-year forecast of between 58,000 and 63,000 boepd, incorporating summer maintenance.

The positive production results allowed newly-appointed CEO Tony Durrant a smooth start to leading the energy company, which is under pressure to restore its production credentials after a string of downgrades last year.

Earlier on Thursday Premier Oil brought on stream its Dua field in Vietnam which can produce 8,000-10,000 bopd.

One of its flagship projects, the Sea Lion field in the disputed Falkland Islands, is also progressing to plan and the company will carry out a geotechnical survey at the site in the coming months to kick start its appraisal process. (Editing by Kate Holton and David Holmes)

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