StockMarketWire.com - Salamander [LON:SMDR] was one of sector's top risers after it announced that first oil had been received in the tanks of the newly converted Suksan Salamander floating storage and offtake vessel at the Bualuang field in the Gulf of Thailand.

"This is the culmination of the planned upgrade to the field's facilities which targets a reduction in operating costs of up to $25 million per annum," the company said.

"New power and processing modules were loaded out to the Bravo platform in the first half of the year. These have been operating smoothly since hook up and commissioning in May.

"The FSO arrived on location in July. Following hook up and commissioning the new FSO is now fully operational. As well as halving the day rate of the production vessel, these upgrades double water handling capacity, increase potential production rates and extend the productive life of the field.

"The Rubicon Vantage Floating Production, Storage and Offtake vessel will depart the field in the coming weeks.

Salamander chief executive James Menzies said: "We have upgraded production infrastructure in the Bualuang field on both time and budget.

"The new facilities enhance the value of the field, minimise the risk of future downtime and mean we are well positioned for the next phase in the field's growth."

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Fortune Oil [LON:FTO] has increased its interest in China Gas Holdings Limited through an acquisition of 13,252,000 shares.

The shares were acquired from the China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation as part of a share placement. The shares were acquired at a price of HK$14.80, a 5.1% discount to the closing price on the date the acquisition was made on 13 August. Due to logistical constraints on the date the acquisition was made, the acquired shares were allotted to First Level Holdings Limited, a substantial shareholder of the company and private company controlled and beneficially owned by director Daniel Chiu.

The board has acknowledged an arrangement between the company and FLH, where FLH will transfer all the allotted shares at cost (i.e. no profit or loss) to the company, at the earliest convenience.

The company will indemnify FLH against all costs associated with the acquisition, financing and transfer of any acquired shares. The transfer is expected to be executed in coming days. The acquisition represents approximately 0.26% of the issued capital of China Gas.

Upon transfer from FLH, the company's interest in China Gas will be 934,745,463 shares - approximately 18.62%.

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PetroNeft [LON:PTR] announces a number of significant actions following the completion of the Licence 61 Farmout to Oil India Limited (OIL) on 3 July 2014, in particular the re-commencement of drilling operations on Licence 61.

· All debt due to Macquarie and Arawak has been repaid; PetroNeft is now debt-free

· Joint Venture Working Group has been established

· Work Programme and Budget for 2014 and 2015 finalised

· Drilling crew mobilised to commence drilling of Tungolskoye No. 5 well within the next week

· Second Drilling crew to re-commence production drilling at Arbuzovskoye will be mobilised shortly

· The Sibkrayevskoye No. 373 delineation well will follow the Tungolskoye No. 5 well

· Seismic acquisition crew mobilised to commence operations for the acquisition of 1,000 km of high resolution 2D seismic in Q1 2015

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Cairn Energy [LON:CNE] posts an after-tax loss of $62m for the six months to the end of June - down from $219m a year ago.

Unsuccessful exploration costs of US$80m included US$51m relating to the Foum Draa and Juby Maritime wells offshore Morocco, US$25m relating to North Sea appraisal wells drilled on the Skarfjell discovery and US$4m in other regions.

Cairn said that controlling administrative cost levels was a continuing priority and it is currently re-organising the group to ensure staffing levels are appropriate for the future work programme. As a result, a restructuring provision of US$3m has been made at 30 June relating to proposed redundancies, with associated accelerated share-based payment charges of US$4m. A further restructuring provision will be required in H2 2014. Net operating expenses have therefore increased year-on-year to US$30m (H1 2013: US$25m).

Chief executive Simon Thomson said: "Cairn's future programme of high quality development projects and material exploration drilling is fully funded through to delivery of free cash flow from 2017.

"The company is focused on creating value and shareholder returns from disciplined capital allocation across a balance of exploration and development assets.

"Over the next 12 months, the company has an active programme of exploration and appraisal wells with all drilling beyond the current frontier operations targeting mature and emerging basins. In line with this strategythe farm-in to the Statoil-operated Ensis prospect in the Barents Sea commences a planned entry to this emerging region. In the meantime the Company is addressing its organisational size to ensure it has the appropriate structure to deliver the future work programme.

"Cairn continues to seek resolution of the tax issue in India and will take all necessary steps to protect shareholders' interests."

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The sector's biggest faller for the second day in a row was Kea Petroleum [LON:KEA] - down by more than 13% in late trading.









At 4:16pm:

[LON:AUR] Aurum Mining PLC share price was +0.01p at 1.38p

[LON:BOR] Borders Southern Petroleum PLC share price was +0.75p at 12.25p

[LON:CHAR] Chariot Oil Gas Ltd share price was +0.01p at 16.13p

[LON:CNE] Cairn Energy PLC share price was 0p at 187.4p

[LON:DGO] Dragon Oil PLC share price was +10p at 590p

[LON:ENQ] EnQuest Plc share price was +1.15p at 122.25p

[LON:FOGL] Falkland Oil Gas Ltd share price was 0p at 26.75p

[LON:FTO] Fortune Oil PLC share price was +0.18p at 9.58p

[LON:GKP] Gulf Keystone Petroleum share price was +1.63p at 75.13p

[LON:GPX] Gulfsands Petroleum PLC share price was -1.5p at 48.5p

[LON:INDI] Indus Gas Ltd share price was -3.38p at 385p

[LON:KEA] Kea Petroleum Ltd share price was -0.15p at 0.98p

[LON:PET] Petrel Resources PLC share price was +0.01p at 7.63p

[LON:PTR] Petroneft Resources PLC share price was +0.08p at 5.7p

[LON:RKH] Rockhopper Exploration PLC share price was -2.5p at 87p

[LON:RPT] Regal Petroleum PLC share price was 0p at 5.5p

[LON:SMDR] Salamander Energy PLC share price was +3.25p at 107.25p

[LON:XEL] Xcite Energy Ltd share price was +1.63p at 65.63p



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