Lasmo reveals ambition to double output

LASMO, the oil exploration and production group, yesterday unveiled plans for a near doubling in output over the next seven years and said it was considering entering Iran, writes Michael Harrison.

The company aims to increase production from 200,000 barrels a day to 350,000 from existing fields in the UK North Sea, Indonesia and Venezuela, which it bought into last year in a pounds 275m deal.

Lasmo also plans to sell off its Colombian interests, which could raise about $280m (pounds 167m), and has put its operations in Italy and Gambon under review.

Announcing static pre-tax profits before exceptionals last year of pounds 48m, Joe Darby, Lasmo's chief executive, said it was looking at diversifying the production base. This could involve taking on production licences in Iran which the Tehran government is advertising next month.

Other areas for expansion include Brazil and the Capsian Sea but Mr Darby rejected suggestions that Lasmo was adopting a "gung-ho" approach.