The UK division of oil and gas explorer Perenco has paid out a £100m dividend despite being harmed by falling oil and gas prices.
Perenco UK, owned by the wealthy Perrodo family, swung from a £250m profit in 2018 to a £113m loss in 2019.
The average price of the international benchmark Brent Crude during 2019 was $64 (£50) per barrel, $7 lower than the 2018 average.
Perenco’s parent companies are based in the Bahamas and do not file public accounts, so it is not clear where the dividend has ended up. Its ultimate controlling party, Bahamas-based Perenco International, is controlled by the Perrodo family and trusts for their benefit. Perenco declined to comment.
Perenco, owns fields in the southern North Sea as well as Wytch Farm onshore oilfield in Dorset, the largest in western Europe. Its southern North Sea business was up for sale last February, although no sale has taken place.
Perenco was founded by Hubert Perrodo in 1975 and now produces about 465,000 barrels of oil per day.