Afren Sees 2013 Sales at Least Matching 2012 Record on Iraq

Afren Plc, a U.K.-based oil explorer focused on Nigeria and Iraq, said revenue will remain at a record-high this year as increased output from Iraq’s Kurdistan region helps the company benefit from advancing crude prices.

Sales probably more than doubled to about $1.5 billion last year after production soared to 42,830 barrels of oil equivalent a day, the London-based company said today in a statement. Afren expects to pump as much as 47,000 barrels a day this year, it said, excluding Iraqi output from the total.

“Revenue and net operating cash flow should be at least what it is in 2012 if not showing some growth,” Galib Virani, associate director at Afren, said by phone. “We’ll see growth on the top line based on conservative production guidance.”

Oil traded in New York has gained more than 20 percent in seven months, last week capping the longest weekly winning streak in 14 months as House Republicans planned a vote on extending the U.S. borrowing authority. Rising prices may boost profits from Kurdistan, where Afren has said it may beat output guidance with additional volumes from the Barda Rash project.

Afren rose 2.7 percent to close at 138.7 pence in London trading. The shares jumped 53 percent last year.

“Providing production guidance for 2013 excluding Kurdistan highlights the risk of ramp-up from the region,” Tom Robinson, a London-based analyst at Nomura International Plc, wrote in an e-mailed report. “Growth outside Kurdistan is expected to be more modest this year.”

The company expects to raise investment in all its projects by about a fifth to $620 million this year. It plans to drill 14 exploration and appraisal wells, targeting more than 670 million barrels of oil and gas resources.

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