Enterprise Oil slips

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WEAK oil prices and falling interest income have led to a sharp fall in interim profits at Enterprise Oil, the big North Sea explorer, writes Neil Thapar.

The company yesterday reported a slump in net profits to pounds 34.6m, despite a jump in oil production from 127,900 to 135,500 barrels per day.

Earnings slipped from 13.2p to 7.9p but the interim dividend is being held at 6.5p.

The company said the results reflect a lower oil price, which averaged pounds 10.59 a barrel in the first half against pounds 12.13 last time.

Net interest income fell from pounds 30m to just pounds 9.5m due to a high capital expenditure for development of new fields such as Nelson and Scott.

Total spending on the development of its oil and gas assets rose from pounds 117m to pounds 133.4m.

Shell, the oil giant, has lifted its interim dividend by 4.5 per cent to 9.3p.