The Daily Telegraph

Profits double at North Sea producer Enquest as oil prices surge

- By Rachel Millard

PROFITS at North Sea oil and gas producer Enquest have more than doubled to $416m (£360m) as it became the latest producer to get a boost from soaring oil prices.

The company sold its oil at an average price of $90 per barrel during the six months to the end of June, compared to $63 per barrel during the same time last year, a 43pc increase.

Oil prices have climbed as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine disrupts markets and the Opec-plus coalition of oilproduci­ng nations, including Russia and Saudi Arabia, keeps production tightly controlled.

High profits at oil and gas companies prompted the UK Government to impose a windfall tax on the sector in May. Liz Truss, the new Prime Minister, has signalled she is unwilling to impose further windfall taxes, despite pressure to do so to help subsidise household energy bills.

Enquest produces about 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, mostly from its fields in the North Sea, with about 10pc from fields in Malaysia.

Last year, it bought a stake in the North Sea’s Golden Eagle field, boosting production.

Overall, its revenue including the new Golden Eagle production climbed 82pc to $943m for the half-year. The company has used the money to pay down its debt, by $342m to $880m. Amjad Bseisu, chief executive, said the company was focused on continuing to pay the debt down. He said Enquest had been “disappoint­ed” by the Energy Profits Levy, or windfall tax, and hoped there would be no further changes, with many companies arguing tax hikes deter investment.

“Security of supply is important,” he added. “The UK used to produce 4.5m barrels of oil and gas equivalent per day 20 years ago. Now we are producing 1.2m. I think it’s important we have a stable [fiscal] regime.”

Enquest plans to invest about £165m this year, most of which is in the UK, including drilling wells in Golden Eagle, and in Magnus. Ms Truss is believed to be keen to boost North Sea oil and gas drilling to try to bring down energy prices, with a new licencing round expected within months.

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