Oil price crash forces Premier to cut spending by 40%

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Image caption Crashing oil prices mean Premier Oil will cut back on development next year

The crash in oil prices has forced oil and gas explorer Premier Oil to cut spending on development next year by 40%.

And it has said it will write off some $300m in its 2014 results, due out next month.

Development spending on new oil fields next year, already cut to $600m, will be "subject to further review".

The cuts mean the company is already in negotiations to reduce costs with a number of key contractors.

Premier said 2014 revenues are 6% up on 2013, but profits will be hit by an impairment charge estimated at $300m.

Tony Durrant, chief executive, said: "Premier is in a strong position to weather a period of oil price weakness due to its long-term cash flow generation.

"Premier has also responded to the sharp fall in the oil price with a broad programme of cost reductions and the postponement of discretionary spend."

Production fall

Last year, Premier Oil, which has oil and gas interests in the North Sea, south-east Asia, Pakistan and the Falkland Islands, hit the upper end of its production target, reaching 63,600 barrels of oil a day.

It expects production to fall to 55,000 barrels in 2015, excluding contribution from its North Sea Solan project that is expected to come on stream this year.

Oil prices are at their lowest in about six years, after plummeting 60% in the last six months from more than $100 a barrel.

The European benchmark, Brent crude, was trading just above $45 a barrel, on Wednesday after falling to $45.19, its lowest since March 2009.

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