Afren Falls Most in a Month After Reducing Output Guidance

Afren Plc, the U.K. explorer focused on Africa and the Middle East, fell the most in more than a month after lowering its output guidance for this year and announcing delays to its project in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The shares declined 5.4 percent, the most since Dec. 14, to 117.9 pence in London. The stock is up 38 percent since the start of the year.

Afren expects to pump 42,000 to 46,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day this year, the London-based company said today in a statement. The reduction “factors in downtime related to ongoing development drilling at the Ebok field and possible early drilling at Okoro East from the main field well-head platform,” it said today on its website. On Jan. 3 it announced “net working interest production” of 55,400 barrels of oil equivalent going into 2012.

The company now expects is Barda Rash field in Kurdistan to start pumping in August, at least a month later from the previous guidance of mid-2012 made in November.

“Even after the rally, we still see 34 percent upside potential,” Stuart Joyner, an Investec Securities Ltd. analyst, wrote in an e-mailed report. He cut Afren’s share-price estimate to 167 pence from 192 pence mostly on the Barda Rash project valuation.

Afren plans to invest from $450 million to $500 million in projects this year, down from $550 million last year.

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