Premier Oil Shares Gain on Plans to Merge North Sea Operations

  • CEO Tony Durrant comments in interview with Financial Times
  • Premier Oil's full-year loss widened after crude slumped

Premier Oil Plc advanced the most in almost three weeks after the North Sea explorer told the Financial Times it’s planning to merge operations with some rivals to cut costs.

The stock rose as much as 18 percent, the biggest gain since Feb. 17, and was up 10 percent to 48.5 pence as of 9:42 a.m. in London. Premier Oil’s shares have gained 40 percent in the past three trading sessions.

“We are talking about shared rigs, shared logistics, shared back offices,” Chief Executive Officer Tony Durrant told the FT, which reported that Premier Oil was leading talks with a handful of other companies. “This could be quite radical for our industry.”

Premier Oil reported on Feb. 25 that its 2015 loss widened to $1.1 billion as the company took an impairment charge following the slump in crude prices. Two days earlier, an industry lobby group said about 43 percent of all U.K. offshore fields will operate at a loss if crude prices stay at around $30 a barrel this year.

The pace of drilling in the U.K. and Norwegian North Sea reached a record low in January as explorers and producers are forced to scrap costly projects.

Shares of Enquest Plc, another explorer in the U.K. North Sea, climbed as much as 13 percent, before paring their gains to 3.3 percent.

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