Oil and gas explorer Dragon Oil posted a 30% fall in annual profits after higher sales volumes were offset by lower oil prices.

The company also said it aims to now diversify away from Turkmenistan where the company focuses its exploration activity.

The company said its annual pretax profit fell to $259m in 2009 from $369m in 2008.

Average daily production rose 9% to 44,765 barrels of oil per day from 40,992 in 2008.

Dragon now aims to target annual output growth of 15% in 2010 and between 10 and 15% on average up to 2012.

The explorer said that sales volumes of crude oil rose by 40% in 2009 compared with 2008, but revenues fell by 12% to $623.5m, hit by a lower comparative oil price.

Shares in Dragon Oil closed at 462.25 pence on Monday, valuing the company at £2.36bn ($3.7bn), where $1=£0.6469, reports Reuters.