Taqa buys key stake in Kurdistan oil block
Abu Dhabi, December 1, 2012
Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) has signed an agreement to acquire a 53.2 per cent interest in the Atrush block in the Kurdistan region of Iraq from General Exploration Partners, an affiliate of Aspect Holdings.
Taqa, which is 75-per cent owned by the Abu Dhabi government, said the Atrush acquisition adds a new Mena dimension to its operated oil and gas business, which is currently focused on North America, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
Taqa's production had surged to more than 134,400 barrels of oil equivalent per day during the first nine months of 2012, it added.
Commenting on the move, CEO Carl Sheldon said: “Atrush is a highly prospective block in a new growth area with significant upside potential. This entry into a pure exploration play demonstrates how Taqa is leveraging its experience as an operator of complex oil and gas assets."
"It fits our strategy to build on the UAE’s strong bilateral bonds in the Mena region, and to become an operator of scale in the markets we choose to compete in," he stated.
Taqa aims to become the operator of the Kurdish block after getting approval from its partners and the Kurdistan government, said Sheldon.
The acquisition will be funded from corporate resources and is expected to close this month, he added.
In April, Taqa had announced its plans to acquire a 50 per cent stake in the 1,000 MW Sulaymaniyah gas-fired power in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
David Cook, the executive officer and head of Taqa Oil & Gas, said: “The addition of Atrush to Taqa’s oil and gas portfolio is perfectly in line with our growth strategy. This opportunity builds on our capabilities, and underscores our ability to evolve Taqa's operating position in the region.”
In another strategic move, Taqa disposed off its entire holding in WesternZagros Resources, which holds two oil and gas production sharing contracts in the Kurdistan.
The Abu Dhabi firm had purchased 74 million common shares in WesternZagros at CDN$0.63 per share for a total amount of CDN$46.6 million in October 2011.
Taqa completed the disposal in a single block trade prior to the opening of the TSX Venture Exchange on Friday for a total consideration of CDN$85.1 million. Prior to the disposal, Taqa held 17.98 per cent of WesternZagros’ issued and outstanding common shares.-TradeArabia News Service