Wednesday 21 March 2018

Dragon posts first-half profit jump of one-third

Thomas Molloy

DRAGON Oil, the Dublin-listed explorer focusing on projects in Turkmenistan, said first-half profit rose 31pc after crude prices increased.

Profit jumped to $137.6m (€104m) for the first six months of the year from $105m in the same period last year. Sales rose 4.9pc to $276.3m. Average daily oil production rose to 46,420 barrels of oil per day in the first half of the year compared to 42,808 barrels in the first six months of last year.

Dragon Oil said discussions with the Turkmenistan government to allow it to sell its gas in the country were continuing.

The company also said it continued to review and test alternative routes for exporting its oil. It currently exports oil through Azerbaijan, via a pipeline operated by BP. The decision may come before the end of the year, the company added.


"Beyond the headline figures there is limited incremental news in the results statement," Goodbody Stockbrokers analyst Gerry Hennigan said in a note to clients.

Shares in the explorer closed up 7.2 cents, or 1.3pc, at €5.47 in Dublin last night. Dragon is the sixth-biggest company on the Irish stock exchange, with a market value of €2.82bn.

The company is building a pipeline and upgrading its onshore processing facility to end capacity constraints. The projects are due for completion this year. It is also reviewing possible assets for acquisitions in the Caspian Sea, Middle East and Africa after cash and deposits grew by 32pc to $1.2bn in the first half of the year.

"We are making some analysis, we are making some potential proposals," chief executive Abdul-Jaleel al-Khalifa said.

"We are interested at all levels in the company to find another asset."

The company plans to invest as much as $700m within the next two years on infrastructure. The producer said last month it expected average annual output growth of 10pc this year and 10pc to 15pc in the three years through 2012.

"We are hoping we can make 10pc output growth this year," Mr Al-Khalifa said. "It can be less, but this is at least our ambition."

Irish Independent

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