NORTH Sea-focused EnQuest has incurred hefty losses after cutting the valuation of its oil and gas assets by around $410 million (£310m) to reflect the impact of the crude price plunge triggered by the coronavirus crisis.

EnQuest made a $373m loss before tax in the six months to June 30, compared with a $39m profit in the same period last year.

The cut in the valuation of the company’s assets reflects directors’ belief that the fallout from the coronavirus will weigh on the market for years.

READ MORE: North Sea heavyweight gives up on fields as oil price plunge leaves sector in crisis

EnQuest announced in March that it had decided not to restart production from the Heather and Thistle fields as it looked to slash its running costs. The fields had been shut in last year to allow the company to do remedial work.

The company recently stopped production from the mature Alma/Galia development.

EnQuest has cut around 500 jobs in the North Sea this year under its economy drive. This has resulted in a reduction of around 40 per cent in its UK workforce numbers.

Chief executive Amjad Bseisu said: “Our difficult and early decisions to shut down our higher cost assets have resulted in a substantial cost reduction programme, which is on track.”

EnQuest made clear yesterday that it still sees potential in big fields on which it has focused investment in recent years.

READ MORE: Oil firms and governments show belief in potential of North Sea amid strong demand for exploration licences

The company noted that production from the Kraken heavy oil field East of Shetland increased by 19 per cent annually in the first half, to around 39,000 barrels of oil daily.

The company is considering developing other finds close to Kraken.

It recently increased its exposure to the area by acquiring a stake in the Bressay heavy oil find from Equinor, for an initial £2.2m.

EnQuest said yesterday that Bressay offered the opportunity for a long-term, low-risk development that could be linked to the Kraken field.

The company has been pleased with the performance of the Magnus field North of Shetland. It acquired Magnus from BP in 2018 along with an interest in the Sullom Voe terminal on Shetland.

Mr Bseisu said EnQuest expects to be able to achieve cash break even this year if it could get an average $33 per barrel oil equivalent for its output. Brent sold for around $44/bbl yesterday.

Shares in EnQuest closed down seven per cent, 0.96p, at 12.16p.

Analysts at Bank of America and Jefferies maintained buy ratings on the stock, noting that EnQuest had achieved a strong operating performance.