WEST of Shetland-focused Hurricane Energy has underlined its belief in the long term potential of the area after achieving a maiden profit on the back of the output from a bumper find.

Hurricane posted a first half operating profit of $1.2 million (£1m) weeks after starting production from the landmark Lancaster find, which is estimated to contain 500 million barrels oil.

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Production from Lancaster will allow Hurricane to generate huge amounts of cash after incurring hefty losses during a pioneering hunt for oil.

Chief executive Robert Trice founded the firm to focus on under-explored acreage off Shetland, on which it has made a series of finds. Mr Trice described the firm’s assets on an area known as the Rona Ridge as world class.

He said: “The operating cash flow that the Lancaster EPS (early production system) will deliver provides us with greater control of Hurricane’s future as we seek to deliver growth in reserves and production across all of our Rona Ridge assets.”

Hurricane expects to produce around 2.8 million barrels from Lancaster in the current financial year.

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The results of an appraisal well on the Lincoln find released earlier this month have left directors convinced it is commercial.

Surrey-based Hurricane lost $21.2m after tax in the six months to June 30.