CANBERRA, AAP – Shares in Australian share-listed Oil Search, which operates all of Papua New Guinea’s oilfields, has jumped over seven per cent despite posting a huge loss in 2020.

Releasing its annual results on Tuesday, Oil Search said it suffered a $US320.7 million ($A405.3 million) loss for the full 2020 year.

This was a hefty 203 per cent down from the net after-tax profit of $312.4 million recorded in 2019.

Oil Search managing director Keiran Wulff said the result reflected a collapse in oil demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and an oil price downturn.

But Dr Wulff said despite these challenges, the company has achieved its strongest safety performance since becoming the operator of the PNG oil fields in 2003.


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It also provided the strongest production reliability since the 2018 earthquake and a record annual production from its PNG LNG project.

“Underpinning all our activities is a strategic focus that was developed in 2020, which culminated in a renewed purpose and ambition to be the preferred energy company for all stakeholders,” Dr Wulff said in a statement.

The Oil Search board approved a final dividend of 0.5 US cents per share for 2020, down from 4.5 US cent in 2019.

Oil Search shares were up 7.3 per cent or 0.3 cents at $4.35.