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MOL cuts crude forecasts on low Iraq output

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MOL has cut its crude oil production forecasts mainly due to lower-than-expected output from its fields in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, which had been seen as an important growth driver for its upstream business. Output was expected to fall to 91,000 to 96,000 barrels per day (bpd) this year from 96,900 in the fourth quarter of last year, before growing again in 2015, MOL said in an investor presentation Tuesday.

Production will rise to 105,000 to 110,000 bpd in 2015 and peak at about 125,000-135,000 by 2018, based on its current upstream portfolio, MOL reported. The new forecast is far lower than a 170,000 to 180,000 bpd target set out in an investor presentation in November 2013, although it was not immediately clear whether that number had included potential new acquisitions.

The company, which paid $375 million for 14 exploration licenses in the North Sea last year, announced the focus for MOL is now on Pakistan, former Soviet states and the North Sea for future acquisition.

MOL, which has exploration projects in over a dozen countries from Cameroon to Oman, saw its production decline an annual 10% in 2013. Net income in the fourth quarter plunged to HUF 4.9 billion ($21.8 million) from HUF 9.5 billion a year earlier.

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