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DNO Expects Oil Output to Rise After Returning to Profit

DNO International ASA, a Norwegian oil and gas explorer operating in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, said production will climb as it returned to profit after three years of losses.

DNO will drill 19 wells in 2012, the most in its 40-year history, the company said today in a statement. It posted net income of 653 million kroner ($114 million) last year, compared with a 283 million-krone loss a year earlier, as output more than doubled.

“We expect to see production continue to increase,” Chief Executive Officer Helge Eide said in a telephone interview. “We have a very exciting year before us.”

DNO, which last month completed a merger with RAK Petroleum PCL’s oil and gas units in the Middle East and North Africa, plans a listing in London this year. The Oslo-based company is a partner with Genel Energy Plc, the oil and gas producer led by former BP Plc CEO Tony Hayward, at two licenses in Iraq.

Genel President Mehmet Sepil said in November he planned to approach DNO on a possible merger. Eide declined to comment on the matter today.

DNO fell 4.3 percent to 9.95 kroner as of the market close in Oslo.

Working-interest production rose to 39,966 barrels of oil a day in 2011 from 17,381 barrels a day a year earlier, the company said in the statement. DNO, which also operates in Oman, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates and Tunisia, had 1.75 billion kroner in cash at the end of last year.

The company posted net income of 203 million kroner in the fourth quarter, compared with a 31 million-krone loss a year earlier.

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