LONDON (Reuters) - UK-based oil explorer Tullow Oil (TLW.L) said profit soared last year thanks to the ramp up of a major new field in Ghana, allowing the company to announce a doubling of its dividend.
Tullow said on Wednesday total comprehensive net income jumped to $665.9 million last year from $49.2 million in 2010, powered by a 35 percent rise in oil and gas production to average 78,200 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd).
A company poll of analysts had earlier given an average forecast of $608 million for full-year net income.
Nonetheless, production at Tullow's Jubilee field in Ghana was lower than earlier expected and the company said it planned remedial work on the field in 2012 to improve output.
The London-headquartered group added it expects to deliver total net production of 78,000 to 86,000 boepd in 2012.
Tullow said it was now eyeing start-up of its Ugandan fields in 2016, following delayed government approval of Tullow's buyout of its partner and subsequent sale-down of its interests to France's Total (TOTF.PA) and China's CNOOC (0883.HK).
Tullow said it would pay a final dividend of 8.0 pence per share for 2011, up from a 4.0 pence final dividend for 2010.
Reporting by Tom Bergin; Editing by Mark Potter