Premier Oil, a leading FTSE 250 independent exploration and production company, has reported its record after-tax profits of US$171.2 million for the year ending December 31, 2011, up from US$129.8 million in 2010. Operating cash flows increased by 11.4 per cent to US$485.9 million, up from US$436.0 million in 2010.

While commenting on the earnings, CEO Simon Lockett said: "I congratulate again our teams in Asia for successfully delivering two major operated projects during 2011. This bodes well for delivering on our future growth targets and projects. Our exploration and acquisition teams are focused on accessing further profitable growth opportunities. We are in our strongest ever financial and operational position to take advantage of such opportunities as they emerge."

The basic profit earnings per share is recorded at 36.6 cents, up from 28 cents for a year ago.

Premier Oil has achieved an exit rate of 60 kboepd, which was in line with guidance and the average working interest production for the FY2011 was 40.4 kboepd, compared to 42.8 kboepd in 2010.

During 2011, 12 out of 21 exploration and appraisal wells were drilled and achieved successful results with notable discoveries at Burgman in the UK and at Cá Rong Ðo and Chim Sáo North West in Vietnam. Proforma proven and probable reserves increased to 296 mmboe (2010: 261 mmboe), a reserve replacement ratio of 333 per cent. Reserves and resources rose to 527 mmboe (2010: 488 mmboe).

The group's year-end net debt stood at US$744.0 million giving rise to gearing of 30 per cent. The production guidance of 60-65 boepd average and 75 boepd by year-end is unchanged and dependent on first oil and gas timing from the Huntington and Rochelle projects.