Kuwait Energy aims to go public in 2010
Kuwait City, July 31, 2009
Privately held Kuwait Energy Co is on track to go public and quintuple its oil production from its fields around the world by the end of next year, chief executive Sara Akbar told Reuters in an interview.
Akbar, known in some energy circles for her role fighting well fires after the first Gulf War, said that she expects KEC to lift output to 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from about 10,000 bpd at the end of 2008.
The company, formed in August 2005, expects to list within the same time frame.
"We're looking at London and Kuwait exchanges. A dual listing is an option," said Akbar, who bills herself as one of just a handful of Arab female CEOs in the Middle East.
Akbar said KEC, which posted net profits of $30 million in 2008 from $18 million 2007, would likely shun US exchanges because of onerous US reporting requirements.
"Why would you want to subject any company to excessive regulation," she said.
The company's strategy is focused on development of smaller fields, especially in the Middle East, where it can use its regional expertise and where many fields needing enhanced recovery methods are overlooked by large state-run firms.
"A lot of fields are really aging and they don't have time for the attention needed," Akbar said.
Akbar said it was difficult for the Iraqi government and oil companies to agree on terms for oil field development. "Iraqis need to be more flexible. Eventually they will get there," she added.
Last August, KEC signed a partnership agreement with the Somali government and Indonesia's PT Medco Energi Internasional Tbk to set up a state oil firm in Somalia.
But a bid round to open up acreage to international companies set for 2010 has been delayed by ongoing turmoil in the East African country, Akbar said.
Elsewhere, KEC intends to divest by the end of 2009 its one exploration license it holds with Medco in Cambodia.
As for oil prices, Akbar said she was encouraged by the recent data showing Chinese second-quarter growth accelerating to 7.9 percent.
"As long as the Far East and China are still growing at those rates, the fundamentals should show the price of oil in the range of $60 to $70 is sustainable."
Akbar previously worked for Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Co and Kuwait Oil Company and gained much attention for her role in fighting oil well fires after the first Gulf War.
"I remember we had a birthday party for Red Adair, his 76th, while he was in Kuwait fighting the fires in 1991. He was a legend. But when you have 700 wells on fire, you have to be heroic. You have to do something." - Reuters