Taqa Sets North Sea Assets' Growth to $20B by 2016

ABU DHABI (Dow Jones Newswires), September 22, 2008

Abu Dhabi National Energy Co., or Taqa, will quadruple the value of its European North Sea assets to $20 billion by 2016, the company's chief executive said.

The investment will see Taqa's oil production from the offshore area increase by 50% to 82,000 barrels a day of crude by the end of next year, Peter Barker-Homek told Zawya Dow Jones late Sunday.

"We'll be spending about $500 million a year on capex to grow production and grow reserves," Barker-Homek said.

Taqa is one of a growing number of Persian Gulf private and sovereign investors that after four years of soaring oil prices are bingeing on buying cheap foreign assets to extend their influence outside the Middle East.

Taqa acquired BP PLC's Dutch gas exploration and production operations for $694 million in 2006, including onshore, offshore and storage facilities. It also bought a stake in the U.K.'s Brae field held by Canada's Talisman Energy for $550 million and a share in the nearby undeveloped Drum field from Reach Exploration Ltd.

Extracting more oil from its North Sea wells will require significant investment from the emerging Abu Dhabi energy giant. The Company plans CO2 into many of its reservoirs in an expensive technique known as enhanced oil recovery, or EOR, Barker-Homek said.

EOR technology is set help add another 20,000 barrels a day at six oil fields in the northern North Sea that Taqa bought from Shell U.K. Ltd. and Esso Exploration and Production Ltd. in July, he said.

Beyond oil, the Company is planning liquefied natural gas, or LNG, projects to help meet soaring demand in Europe.

"We're looking at a number of LNG plays. We're also looking at emerging technology around stranded gas and small-scale floating liquefaction," Barker-Homek said.

The Company is majority owned by the Abu Dhabi government and has 24.9% of its shares listed on the Abu Dhabi stock market. It holds AED68 billion ($18.5 billion) in assets in power generation, water desalination, upstream oil and gas, pipelines and gas storage. 

Copyright (c) 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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