Venture Production Aims To Expand Abroad

North Sea Independent, Venture Production, aims to expand abroad, while increasing ten-fold the amount of crude it pumps from its existing portfolio, Chief Executive Bruce Dingwall said. The Aberdeen-based operator, which is present in Trinidad as well as the North Sea, is aiming to acquire "a third leg" - another set of international assets. "We are working on some more deals and maybe we will be able to find that third leg over the next one to two years," Dingwall said in a statement this week. But he said the existing portfolio was already on course to bring about a significant increase in production, despite the maturity of the North Sea province.

The Sycamore group of North Sea oilfields, which also includes Birch and Larch, will be producing 20,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) when the Sycamore field comes on stream early in 2003, Dingwall said. "That will be a 10-fold increase in three years," Dingwall said. When the company bought the fields from Lasmo, now a unit of ENI, they were producing 2,000 bpd and are already up to 12,000 bpd, he said. Dingwall said the key for Venture is "focus", buying up assets at good prices that may not fit the portfolios of other companies.

"It's a big asset to us, a small asset to others," he said. Stressing that the company is only a production company, he said: "We're not an exploration bet. We hedge very carefully. We buy assets where we can add value. We have grown at a massive rate." "We don't outsource. We are extremely well capitalized," he continued, adding that Venture Production, with a market value of about £180 million ($265 million), has a $100 million facility with the Royal Bank of Scotland.

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