Premier Oil

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Premier Oil plc is an independent British UK oil company with gas and oil interests in the UK, Asia and Africa.


Premier Oil was first registered in the UK in 1934 (then as the Caribbean Oil Company) to exploit oil and gas in Trinidad.[1]

Premier Oil acquired its first interest in the North Sea in 1971. In 1977 it gained further access to the UK continental shelf as well as properties in Sudan and West Africa by merging with Ball and Collins North Sea Consortium. Its 12.5% share in the onshore oil field at Wytch Farm in Dorset acquired in 1984 (and the subsequent offshore extension of this field) is still making an important contribution to the revenues.

Premier Oil has been established in Burma since 1990 (and insists on referring to the country as Myanmar, the name given by its military dictatorship). In 1992 the Yetagun Gas Field was discovered there and gas sales to Thailand from that field started in May 2000. Since then offshore facilities have been constructed in the Gulf of Martaban, 124 miles off the west coast of Burma and a 168 mile long pipeline has been constructed to the Thai border. This $650 million project is Premier Oil's biggest (Premier's stake in it is estimated to $200 million) and is expected to yield gas for the coming 20 years.

In 1995 Premier Oil acquired Pict Petroleum. As part of this deal, Amerada Hess (previously part-owner of Pict) came to hold 25% of Premier Oil's enlarged equity.

In 1996 Premier oil acquired Sumatra Gulf Oil Ltd and Discovery Petroleum in Indonesia, giving them a majority interest in the Natuna Sea Block A (including the Anoa oil field).

In 1998, Premier and Shell created a joint venture company in Pakistan which is now involved in 11 concessions and five significant gas fields. In May 2001, Shell pulled out of this project (further information in Corporate Crimes).

Premier Oil is aiming to establish itself as a leading independent oil & gas production company in Asia through strategic partnerships with Petronas and Amerada Hess [3].

UK fracking investments


Legal and lobbying consultancies retained

Market share / importance

In 2000 Premier was a relatively small company devoted entirely to the 'upstream' sector of the industry - the exploitation of oil and gas - as opposed to the 'downstream' refining and retail sector. In 2000 the company had 445 employees and a sales of £99.4 million (US$ 136.35 million). [1]



[2] Most of the information is in this section is gathered from 'Our History' at Premier Oil's homepage: [3] See 'Alliance' at Premier Oil's homepage,

[4] Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Rick Haythornthwaite Accessed 29th January 2008

  1. Premier Oil, Annual Report & Accounts 2000