August 6, 2014 / 6:50 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Lundin profits miss forecasts, warns of project delay

* EBITDA $171.5 mln vs $182 mln forecast

* Brynhild start up seen in Q4

* Maintains production guidance (Adds detail)

OSLO, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Swedish oil producer Lundin Petroleum reported second-quarter earnings below expectations on Wednesday and warned that a major project in Norway was at risk of a further delay.

Lundin, which produces oil and gas in Norway and south east Asia, said its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell 29 percent to $171.5 million, short of expectations for $182 million, as its fields in the North Sea continue to mature and production declines.

The firm also warned that the start up of its Brynhild project in Norway, already several times delayed, could slip back further because of likely delays at a Shell project, which Lundin will to tie the field into.

Start-up is now seen in the fourth quarter instead of September, around a year behind the original schedule, Lundin said.

The company said it remains on track to produce between 24,000 and 29,000 barrels of oil equivalents per day (boepd) in 2014 and around 50,000 boepd in 2015 as new fields come onstream.

Lundin also said that work on the $20 billion Johan Sverdrup field, Europe’s biggest oil discovery in decades, was progressing on schedule and Statoil, the operator, plans to submit a development plan in early 2015.

Sverdrup, which will produce between 550,000 and 650,000 boepd after starting up in late 2019, has been Lundin’s most lucrative find, which has pushed the valuation on its stock sharply higher.

Lundin is one of the most highly-valued shares among European oil firms, trading at 4.5 times its book value, more than twice the average of its peers, reflecting the potential of Sverdrup.

But the stock has underperformed its peers recently, falling 3.1 percent since the start of the year against a 5.5 percent rise in the European oil and gas index, reflecting disappointing exploration wells and the Brynhild delay.

In the second quarter, the firm produced 27,500 barrels of oil equivalents per day (boepd) in line with expectations for 27,462 boepd in a Reuters poll of analysts (Reporting by Balazs Koranyi, editing by Terje Solsvik. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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