* H1 pretax profit $32.5 mln vs $111.6 mln year ago
* H1 production down 21 pct at 36,900 boepd
* Shares down as much as 9 percent
* Salamander H1 pretax profit $62.4 mln vs loss $90.3 mln yr
By Anirban Sen
BANGALORE, Aug 25 Premier Oil Plc
expects a delay in meeting its daily average production target
for 2012 due to financial difficulties faced by its partner in
the Huntington project in the North Sea.
Shares of Premier Oil fell as much as 9 percent to a more
than two-week low of 318.9 pence on the London Stock Exchange,
making it the top loser on the FTSE mid-cap index on
Sevan Marina ASA, which is scheduled to supply a production
and storage vessel to Premier as part of the contract to develop
the Huntington field, recently signed a $36.1 million bridging
facility with its bondholders to meet its short-term working
capital needs, Premier said.
"Our current estimate for arrival of that vessel is in the
second half of 2012, so we'll hit 75,000 boepd (barrels of oil
equivalent per day) towards the back-end of 2012 rather than for
the full year," Chief Executive Simon Lockett told Reuters.
Premier, which owns assets in the North Sea, Congo,
Indonesia, Vietnam and Pakistan, had previously set itself a
production target of 75,000 boepd for 2012, a 66 percent jump
from its 2011 output guidance.
Premier said it planned to drill up to 20 exploration and
appraisal wells over the next 12 months, targeting about 300
million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe).
The company also reiterated its full-year production outlook
of 40,000-45,000 boepd. The company expects a year-end
production run rate of 60,000 boepd.
Macquarie Research analyst Mark Wilson said investors were
doubtful about whether Premier, which has encountered
disappointing drilling results in Indonesia over the last two
months, could meet its long-term production targets.
"Exploration results have been disappointing (in Indonesia),
so people are not seeing a massive potential upside for the
exploration," Wilson said.
Earlier on Thursday, Premier reported a huge drop in its
first-half pretax profit at $32.5 million, compared with $111.6
million a year ago, hurt by exploration write-off costs of $80.6
Analysts on average were expecting a pretax profit of $106.1
million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
First-half production averaged 36,900 boepd, down 21 percent
from last year, as output was hurt by increased maintenance at
some of its fields in the UK.
Separately, Salamander Energy , a smaller British
oil explorer focused solely on South East Asia, swung to a
first-half profit on higher production.
($1 = 0.610 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Anirban Sen in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)