UAE's TAQA May Spend $10B in Canada

OTTAWA (Dow Jones)

Abu Dhabi National Energy Co., or TAQA, plans to spend up to $3 billion in the next 12 months in Canada's oil and gas sector, an investment that could eventually rise to $10 billion, local media reported Friday.

Chief Executive Peter Barker-Homek said the company would like to become one of Canada's top 10 oil and gas producers, and is targeting production of 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day from the newly acquired Northrock Resources, and reserves of 500 million barrels, the reports said. Current output is 37,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, and reserves of 140 million barrels today.

TAQA is the first Middle Eastern company to enter the Canadian energy market with its $2 billion acquisition of Northrock Resources, a Calgary-based oil and gas exploration company, from Houston's Pogo Producing Co. (PPP). The deal closed Thursday, and the new entity has been renamed TAQA North.

Barker-Homek said TAQA will likely acquire oil and gas trusts, whose market values fell after the federal government decided to start taxing them from 2011, reports said.

However, he added that the company won't follow other national oil companies such as Statoil ASA (STO) and China National Petroleum Corp. into Alberta's oil sands, since the technology is still being developed and environmental issues are still being resolved, according to the reports.

TAQA wants to get involved in the U.S. market but Middle Eastern investment is frustrated by tight rules, media cited Barker-Homek as saying. Canada's location along with its political stability makes it an ideal expansion target for TAQA, which also plans to acquire electricity assets in the country, he said.

The company hopes to increase its $16 billion in assets to $60 billion by 2012, he added.

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