NORTH Sea-focused RockRose Energy has said it expects to more than double spending on new assets this year, to $200 million, and underlined its appetite for more acquisitions.

RockRose ramped up its presence in the North Sea last year through the $140 million purchase of the portfolio built up by America’s Marathon.

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This helped the company achieve what executive chairman Andrew Austin described as a strong increase in production during the year.

In an update on trading in 2019, RockRose said output averaged around 19,200 barrels oil equivalent per day (boepd), against 11,000 boepd in the preceding period.

The London-based company can use the cash generated from production to fund investment in existing assets and to expand its portfolio.

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“We have a busy schedule in 2020, which will see organic growth in our production, and we continue to look at opportunities to deploy our balance sheet strength to make acquisitions that meet our criteria,” said Mr Austin.

RockRose has budgeted for $200m capital investment this year, against $80m in 2019. It aims to start production from the Arran field with Shell in 2021 and is mulling plans to develop the Tain field with Repsol-Sinopec.

The firm expects to pay a final dividend of 25p per share, for a full year total of 85p per share.