Afren oil explorer says output ahead of target
* Upcoming drilling campaign could transform resource base
* Output above year-end target sustained since Dec. 19
BRUSSELS Jan 2 (Reuters) - Energy exploration firm Afren said production at its Ebok field, offshore Nigeria, had reached around 40,000 barrels per day (bpd), taking its end-2011 net output to some 55,400 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), ahead of target.
An output rate above the year-end goal of 50,000 boepd has been sustained since Dec. 19, it said, as a result of operations in Ivory Coast as well as Ebok and Okoro in Nigeria.
"The group is in a strong position with aggregate net working interest production of 55,400 boepd going into 2012," Osman Shahenshah, chief executive of Afren, said in a statement on Monday.
He added the company's forthcoming drilling campaign in Ghana, Nigeria, the Joint Development Zone of Nigeria Sao Tome and Principe, Tanzania, Kenya and the Kurdistan region of Iraq had the potential "to materially transform and increase our discovered resource base".
In Nigeria, output at the Ebok field has increased to a stabilised rate of around 40,000 bpd following the commissioning and ramp-up of all production wells associated with the initial phases of the development.
In addition, gross production on the Ogini and Isoko fields, onshore Nigeria, has nearly doubled to around 10,500 bpd from 6,000 bpd following technical changes at the start of December.
Over the course of last year, Afren's share price lost close to half its value, reaching a low below 75 pence in November. A December rally took it to 85.70 pence by the end of 2011, around 15 percent above the November trough.
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