Afren Sees Full-Year Oil Production at Upper End of Range

Afren Plc, a U.K. oil and gas producer in Africa and Iraq, said higher flows from Nigeria will push 2013 output toward the upper end of its forecast. Shares jumped to the most in more than two years.

Production will approach the top of a 40,000 barrel to 47,000 barrel-a-day range, the London-based company said today in a statement. It reported an 18 percent increase in year-to-date output to 48,573 barrels of oil equivalent a day, citing growth at Nigeria’s Ebok and Okoro fields.

Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil-producing nation, accounts for most of Afren’s sales, providing the company with cash to invest elsewhere including in South Africa and Kurdistan.

Afren rose 6.6 percent to 157.7 pence at the close in London trading, the highest price since July 2011. That values the company at 1.7 billion pounds ($2.7 billion).

Ebok production averaged 35,102 barrels of oil a day in the nine months through September, a jump of 22 percent from a year earlier, while Okoro’s output rose 17 percent to average 18,214 barrels a day, Afren said. The company also said it found a “significant” light-oil accumulation at Nigeria’s Ogo-1 well.

“There are two clear positives today: firstly that exploration is delivering and secondly that production is delivering,” Mark Wilson, an analyst at Macquarie Bank Ltd. in London, said in an e-mail. “For an exploration and production company, it’s as much as you can ask for.”

Profit after tax totaled $128.6 million in the third quarter, a 4.7 percent increase from a year earlier, according to today’s statement.

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