Premier Oil reported an increase in first-half earnings on the back of higher production and left its full-year output guidance unchanged. The company said earnings from continuing operations (EBITDAX) were $680.2m, an increase of $192.4m from the prior period's $487.8m due to improved improved production and realised oil prices post hedging and as costs remained broadly flat due to tight cost control. Group production for the first half averaged 84.1 kboepd, up 10% on the prior corresponding period and a record for Premier. The company said this reflected very high operating efficiency across the portfolio and an increased contribution from the Premier-operated Catcher Area. It added it was on track to meet its previously increased full-year production guidance of 75-80 kboepd. 'I am pleased to report another strong performance for Premier where we have exceeded our financial and operational targets for the period. The company's strong cash flow is driving debt reduction and the Zama divestment and Sea Lion farm-down processes are targeting further strengthening of the balance sheet, which remains the group's highest priority,' said chief executive Tony Durrant. It also left its expenditure ($12/boe opex, $340m capex) guidance unchanged and said it had hedged over 40% of oil production for the second half of 2019 at $69/bbl. It expected to get the first gas from its Bison, Iguana and Gajah-Puteri (BIG-P) gas fields at the end of the fourth quarter while Tolmount East appraisal well results due early in the fourth quarter. The company reiterated its forecast for a full-year net debt reduction of over $300m (excluding any potential disposal proceeds). At 8:07am: (LON:PMO) Premier Oil PLC share price was +1.81p at 74.07p
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