Premier Oil is interested in increasing its 50% interest in the Catcher North Sea oil field that produced first oil in December, CEO Tony Durrant told Reuters on March 8.

“We would love to have more of Catcher. It depends on the structure of the sale,” Durrant said when asked whether Premier was looking at a 20% stake in the field that banking sources said is earmarked for sale by MOL.

Catcher is expected to reach production of 60,000 bbl/d in April, bringing Premier’s 2018 output guidance to between 80,000 bbl/d and 85,000 bbl/d, up from 75,000 last year. Increased production will be key to reducing Premier's debt pile of about $2.6 billion.

Durrant said it would be “very reasonable” to expect net debt to fall to about $2.3 billion by the end of the year, with debt reduction accelerating next year.

Premier’s other key project, the Mexican offshore field Zama, has potential reserves of up to 800 million barrels and could drill its first appraisal well in the second quarter, depending on partner Pemex’s plans for a rig in a neighboring block.

When asked whether Premier might have become a takeover target, Durrant said, “I don’t think there is a lot of activity in the corporate [mergers and acquisitions] world at the moment so it’s not on the top of my worry list or priority list.”