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Thursday 7 December 2023 Dublin: 10°C
Oil Spill

This billion-dollar oil company founded in Carlow just posted its first loss in 15 years

The low oil price is not good news for exploration firms.

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EXPLORATION FIRM TULLOW Oil posted a massive operating loss last year because of the plunge in global energy prices.

The company, which was founded in Co Carlow but is now headquartered in London, recorded its first loss in 15 years on the back of the worldwide oil glut.

In its annual results, Tullow said it had been forced to write off $1.65 billion (€1.46 billion) for exploration costs as it shed 16% of its revenue over the 12 months.

The company posted an operating loss of $1.96 billion (€1.73 billion) for the full period.

The price of oil has halved over the past six months with the cost of Brent crude falling below $50 a barrel at one stage, although it has since rebounded slightly.


Last month the company announced it was trimming $200 million (€177 million) from its budget for new projects because of the low oil price.

Not the end of the world

Tullow chief executive Aidan Heavey told the company’s investors it was making on plans the oil price would stay at $50 a barrel and “maybe even drop further”.

“We started last year adjusting the business to be profitable and to work in a low oil-price environment,” he said.

The company plans to cut staff and other costs while focusing on cheap production in East Africa, rather than expensive exploration elsewhere.

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Despite what people seem to think this is not the end of the world – the industry is very good at adjusting and has done so at numerous times in the past,” Heavey said.

“We’re pretty comfortable with where we are right now.”

Heavey started the company in Tullow, Co Carlow in the 1980s with the plan of capitalising on small oil fields that had been overlooked in Africa.

READ: Lower prices at the petrol pumps mean you’re spending more in the shops >

READ: The government wants to talk to those who are in ‘energy poverty’ >

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