Premier Oil Sells Cladhan to Taqa, Buys Fields From Nexen

Premier Oil Plc (PMO), a London-based oil explorer, will sell its stake in a North Sea field to Abu Dhabi National Energy Co. (TAQA) and buy Norwegian assets from Nexen Inc. (NXY)

Premier will sell the interest in the Cladhan discovery to the state-run company known as Taqa for $54.8 million, according to a statement today. It gained the stake following the 221 million pound ($351 million) acquisition of EnCore Oil Plc (EO/) last month. Premier also agreed to purchase Nexen’s interests in three Norwegian licenses around its Freki acreage.

“We don’t have a business in the Northern North Sea” and Taqa is “the obvious buyer” for Cladhan because it has local infrastructure, Premier Chief Executive Simon Lockett said today by phone. In Norway, “it’s very early days of exploration but we are trying to build up a bit of core in the area.”

Premier, focusing on projects in Asia, the North Sea and Africa, forecast daily output will reach 60,000 barrels of oil equivalent by the end of the year. With the first oil expected at the Huntington field in the U.K. in September, production will rise to 75,000 barrels a day by the end of next year.

The explorer plans to drill 25 wells in the next 13 months, targeting 200 million barrels of oil equivalent resources net to the company. It plans to boost investment projects next year to about $1 billion, including about $250 million in exploration, up from about $750 million of spending this year.

“This includes six wells in the important Eocene play fairway in the Central North Sea where Premier has a growing position,” Premier said in today’s statement.

Taqa also agreed to buy into the Coaster prospect inherited by Premier from EnCore. The drilling of the prospect will form part of the company’s 2012 drilling program, Premier said.

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