OSLO, July 13 (Reuters) - Aker BP will increase its exploration spending plan this year due to new prospects off Norway, the oil firm said on Friday, as its second-quarter earnings jumped but missed forecasts.
The company, the result of a merger between Norwegian oil firm Det norske and the Norwegian operations of BP raised its spending target for exploring the new prospects to $425 million from $350 million.
“(This is) due to increased activity following the Frosk discovery and recent licence awards,” the company said in a statement, referring to a find it made off Norway and to new licences it was awarded by Norwegian authorities.
The company will curb spending this year on decommissioning old oil wells at the Valhall oilfield in the North Sea, cutting the target to $250 million from $350 million citing “accelerated execution” of the work.
Operating profit rose to $552 million from $210 million a year earlier but missed the $573 million expected by analysts in a Reuters poll.
The company will pay a dividend of 31.24 U.S. cents in August, as expected, and maintained its dividend payment outlook. (Reporting by Gwladys Fouche and Lefteris Karagiannopoulos; editing by Jason Neely)