Abu Dhabi National Energy Co, the state-run company investing in Europe and Africa, plans to spend at least $600m over the next two years doubling its North Sea oil output, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said.
The oil, gas and utility company known as Taqa wants to increase North Sea production to 80,000 barrels a day from the current daily level of 40,000 barrels, Salmond, who runs Scotland’s semi-autonomous government, said in Dubai.
“They definitely have their eye on acquisitions,” Salmond said on Thursday in Dubai. “Taqa will invest in new fields and they also want increasing oil flow from their existing fields.”
Taqa, which was set up in 2005, has spent $1 billion on capital expenditure in the North Sea over the past three years, Taqa executive Leo Koot said in a statement issued by the Scottish government on November 1. It operates four platforms and has stakes in other fields. It plans to invest at broadly the same level in the next two years as in 2010 and 2011.
Taqa hasn’t stated publicly its future North Sea production targets, the company said in an e-mailed response to questions from the UAE capital.
The Scottish government supports changes to the North Sea tax structure associated with recovering oil from smaller fields such as those operated by Taqa, Salmond said. Taxation falls under the remit of the UK government in London.
“We’ve agreed that we’ll facilitate approaches to the U.K. government to bring this about,” Salmond said. “We can’t afford to leave energy under the sea or under the ground.”
UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne increased North Sea oil taxes in his annual budget in March to raise an additional £2bn ($3.2bn) in revenue, prompting companies such as Statoil, Norway’s biggest energy producer, to freeze development plans.