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UPDATE 1-Oil firm Aker BP to hike dividend and spending in 2019

Thu, 17th Jan 2019 07:16

(Adds analyst, detail)

By Gwladys Fouche and Ole Petter Skonnord

OSLO, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Norway's Aker BP will increase its dividend payments between now and 2023 and step up its investment spending in developing offshore oil and gas fields next year, the independent oil company said on Thursday.

The result of a 2016 merger between the Norwegian operations of BP and the Det norske oil firm owned by Norwegian billionaire Kjell Inge Roekke, Aker has become one of Norway's biggest offshore players.

"The board proposes dividends for 2019 of $750 million, up from $450 million in 2018, with an ambition to increase dividend payments by $100 million per year to 2023," Aker BP said in a statement.

The 2019 payout was an increase of $200 million from its previous plan.

"We guess share price up 4-6 percent vs market today, mainly due to the aggressive dividend guidance," said Sparebank 1 Markets analyst Teodor Sveen-Nilsen in a note to clients.

Aker BP, which is holding an investors' day in Oslo on Thursday, said it would also raise its capital expenditure by a third to $1.6 billion between 2018 and 2019 and its exploration spending by 40 percent to $500 million over the same period.

Aker BP expects its output to be broadly flat year on year but says its production could triple by 2025.

It expects production in 2019 of between 155,000 and 160,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) compared to an average output of 155,700 boepd in 2018, it said.

Holding company Aker ASA, controlled by Roekke, owns a 40 percent stake in Aker BP, while BP owns 30 percent. (Editing by Terje Solsvik and Jason Neely)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019. Click For Restrictions -

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