Maurel Pledges to Raise Gabon Output After Profit Fell in 2012

Etablissements Maurel & Prom, a French oil and gas explorer, posted a 65 percent drop in profit after the previous year’s results were buoyed by asset sales. It pledged to boost output in Gabon this year.

Net income fell to 58 million euros ($74 million) in 2012 from 165 million euros the year before, the Paris-based company said today in a statement. Sales rose 26 percent to 472 million euros. Asset sales totalled 135 million euros in 2011.

Maurel had average production of 15,688 barrels of oil equivalent a day in 2012, with output in Gabon surpassing 22,000. The connection of new wells may push production from Gabon above 27,500 barrels a day by the end of the year after last year’s results were affected by the collapse of a platform.

Maurel spun off its Nigerian operations in 2011 to concentrate on projects in Gabon, Tanzania and Colombia. Chief Executive Officer Jean-Francois Henin, who owns 24 percent of the company, has long said he’s searching for a buyer or partner for Maurel and regularly meets with potential investors, although no acceptable offers have emerged.

Maurel’s exploration plans for this year include Peru, Mozambique and Namibia as well as Tanzania, Colombia and Gabon, according to today’s statement.

Maurel, which first struck oil in the Republic of Congo in 2001, has divested businesses ranging from fish farming to shipping to focus on energy. It drilled more than 100 exploration wells in the past decade, with a success rate of 46 percent, according to its website.

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