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Tullow Oil, the Africa-focused energy group, said it is taking full advantage of the current low costs in the industry to carry out seismic surveys in territories such as Jamaica and Uruguay.

Such activity is at a “historic high”, the group said in a statement on Wednesday, ahead of its annual general meeting.

A number of oil explorers are trying to exploit low prices for everything from drilling rigs to seismic surveys before higher activity levels push up costs again.

Services companies were forced to slash prices after crude began its steep downward spiral in 2014 and explorers and producers began cutting back on projects and expenditure.

Tullow, which like many rival oil explorers built up hefty debts as they pushed ahead with capital-thirsty projects during the oil price crash, has successfully raised $750m via a deeply discounted rights issue to provide it with “financial and operational flexibility and enable growth over the next three-to-five years”.

Its net debt at the end of March was $4.6bn, $0.2bn lower than at the end of 2016 and it had free cash and headroom under its borrowing facilities of $1.2bn.

Tullow still has to refinance a $3.2bn reserve-based lending facility – a form of borrowing where oil and gas reserves are used as collateral for loans – which it said it hopes to achieve “in the second half of the year”.

On Tuesday one of Tullow’s shareholders, Royal London Asset Management, which holds a 0.95 per cent stake in the company, said it had voted against the elevation of the group’s founder and chief executive, Aidan Heavey, to the role of chairman.

However, it is understood the company is expecting limited opposition to the move, which goes against corporate governance best practice.

Tullow, which has assets in countries including Ghana and Kenya, has maintained its full year production guidance. Production from its fields in West Africa is expected to average between 78,000 and 85,000 barrels of oil per day.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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