Oil and shipping group A.P. Moeller said it hoped to maintain its record North Sea oil production in 2001 at 300,000 barrels per day (bpd). Danish Underground Consortium (DUC), in which A.P. Moeller holds a 39 percent stake, produced 1.275 million tons of oil in 2000, 10.1 percent above 1999 level, while gas production was down 3.5 percent at 6.401 billion cu. m.
"Oil production in 2000 was in line with expectations. We hope to maintain the current production of 300,000 bpd, but it's an ambitious target," Maersk Oil
& Gas deputy director Bo Wildfang told Reuters.
A.P. Moller had expected its oil and gas production in 2000 to end "a little higher" than in 1999.
"A 10 percent rise in 2000 oil production is somewhat higher than my estimate and compensates for a lower-than-expected gas sale," analyst at Carnegie Dan Togo Jensen said.
"Oil production is about to flatten out and at the same time costs will rise, leading to lower earnings per barrel," Togo Jensen said. A.P. Moeller's oil production in 2000 was boosted by the group's recent find, the Halfdan Field, which seems to contain more oil than originally expected and produced 35,900 bpd in December. "We might go higher than 40,000 bpd," Bo Wildfang said.
A spokesman at the Danish Energy Agency said the agency expected DUC to produce approximately the same level of oil in 2001 as last year. "Halfdan's contribution is rising and compensates for lower production from older fields."
DUC's gas production in the North Sea fell below expectations in 2000 as its single buyer, Denmark's state oil firm DONG, added U.S. Amerada Hess as supplier.
Amerada Hess operates one of the few foreign-owned Danish North Sea fields
"Gas production was below forecast. DONG bought less than expected, and we have more gas to sell," Bo Wildfang said.
Last year DUC sold 6.4 billion cu. m. of gas to DONG, compared to 6.6 billion cu. m. in 1999.