TAQA's Oil '&' Gas business comprises strong, well-resourced centres of excellence supporting a portfolio of assets with viable growth potential across North America, the UK North Sea and the Netherlands.
Total Oil '&' Gas revenues, including gas storage and other operating revenues, were AED 12.0 billion for 2012, flat year on year compared with 2011. This was driven primarily by lower production and lower pricing - particularly in North America, where average net realized gas prices declined by 34%, offset by higher gas storage revenues.
Total average global daily production for 2012 decreased to 135.4 mboe/day, compared with 139.1 mboe/day in 2011, a fall of 3% due to the unplanned shut downs in the UK North Sea, the disposal of non-core acreage in North America and the shut-in of uneconomic production.
Reserves were replaced in excess of 100%. Total proven plus probable reserves at the end of December 2012 were 599.6 mmboe compared with 582.6 mmboe at the end of 2011.
In North America, an average of 85.9 mboed was produced during 2012. In the face of continued low natural gas prices, unprofitable dry gas production was shut-in and operational costs and overheads were reduced.
A key aspect of this was a review of exploration acreage during the year to ensure the most efficient operating footprint. As a consequence, the North American project pipeline was slimmed down from over 60 to just 12 key projects, and outlying acreage in southeast Saskatchewan was divested, realising AED 1.8 billion.
Subsequently, AED 569 million was invested in acquiring assets in core production areas, adding 5,000 boed of production, larger reserves and important mid-stream assets, all at a very attractive price.
Furthermore, as a consequence of low gas prices, North American capex was cut by 30% in the 2013 investment plan, and has been focused on those opportunities which continue to be attractive at these low prices.
During the year, a major overhaul was undertaken at TAQA's Crossfield plant, which has increased processing capacity from 48 mmcfd to 70 mmcfd and the efficiency rate to 97%. This investment will also allow us to process additional third party gas.
Despite the difficult pricing environment during the year, there has been a sustained uplift in prices towards the end of the year, with Henry Hub spot prices rising from US$2.81 on 1 September 2012 to US$3.42 on 31 December 2012. This positive trend has been continued post period.
Production volumes in the UK North Sea averaged 41.8 mboe/day during the year, a 3% decrease compared to the same period last year, largely due to the unplanned shutdowns in the Otter field pipeline and North Cormorant.
During the year, a number of significant developments were announced, including: In February, the acquisition of a 50% interest in licences that include the Darwin oil discovery, these are located next to the North Cormorant and Pelican fields.
In October, a new oil accumulation was discovered at the Contender prospect, which was drilled from the North Cormorant platform, with an early estimate of approximately 10-30 million barrels of oil in place. The field is being developed under the new name Cormorant East and commenced production in January 2013.
Furthermore, TAQA increased its stake in the Cladhan field, which is tied back to its Tern platform, and completed the Causeway tie-back to North Cormorant - this was TAQA's first third party tie-back in the North Sea.
In November, TAQA announced an agreement to acquire a major portfolio of operated oil and gas assets from BP for more than US$1 billion, with an effective date for the majority of the assets of 1 January 2012. The acquisition consisted of interests in the Harding (70%), Maclure (37.03%), and Devenick (88.7%) fields in the Central North Sea.
The acquisition also increases TAQA's non-operated interests in the Brae area and associated transport infrastructure, including the SAGE, Forties-Brae and Forties-Braemar pipelines. These assets are expected to increase net production by 19 to 21 mboed in 2012-2013. In addition, this constitutes a second major development hub in the central North Sea, opening up further investment opportunities, such as infill drilling on Harding, the ability to unlock significant discovered gas resources together with other adjacent field owners, and the development of the Morrone field. This transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2013.
Production in the Netherlands averaged 7.7 mboe/day, a 5% decrease compared to the same period last year. Operations in the Netherlands maintained very high availability at the PGI facility in Alkmaar and completed a large turnaround on the P15 platform without incident. TAQA also signed agreements to extend the operating life of the P15 platform until at least 2022. TAQA participated in a successful discovery on the F17 oil field with an estimated 30 mmboe of recoverable reserves.
A highlight for the year was receiving the final permits for the Gas Storage Bergermeer project and subsequently starting construction. More than 70% of the total working volume has now been sold under long-term storage contracts and the remaining capacity is intended to be offered annually based on short term storage contracts, with the first auction planned for autumn 2014. Commercial gas storage operations at Bergermeer are scheduled to start in 2014, with full capacity available in 2015.
In 2012, the WTI oil price remained largely flat year on year at an average of US$94.13/bbl for 2012, compared with US$95.11/bbl in 2011. Prices for Brent also remained fairly consistent, at an average of US$111.68/bbl in 2012 versus US$110.91/bbl in 2011. NYMEX gas prices for 2012 averaged US$2.83/mmbtu, in comparison to US$4.03 /mmbtu for the equivalent period in 2011.
During the fourth quarter, the oil price weakened with Brent prices declining by 6% and WTI prices by 5%. However, North American gas prices showed a more positive trend, with Henry Hub spot prices increasing by 22%, albeit from a very low level.
TAQA's Energy Solutions business has global responsibility for developing alternative and advanced technology solutions for energy production and generation. Alternative energy generation projects include wind, solar, geothermal, and waste-to-energy, as well as unconventional fossil-fuel projects such as gas to liquids, shale gas and using CO2 for enhanced oil and gas recovery.
Its approach has been to leverage TAQA's existing business footprint and resources, and is initially focused on those markets where it already has strong relationships, such as Abu Dhabi, Canada, Morocco and the Netherlands.
In June, TAQA joined forces with The Centre of Waste Management Abu Dhabi to evaluate the feasibility of developing one of the world's largest waste-to-energy facilities in Abu Dhabi. This would divert up to one million tonnes of waste from landfill every year.
In September, TAQA became a member of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group (ADSG), which was established by the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency, with the support of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, to integrate sustainability into the Emirate's economic and social development programmes.
TAQA agreed to buy a 50% interest in the 205.5 megawatt (MW) Lakefield wind project located in the Midwestern United States from a subsidiary of France-based utility Electricite de France SA (EDF). This project has the capacity to generate emissions-free electricity for more than 68,000 homes.
TAQA discovered oil in the new Darwin oil field in the Northern North Sea area near the Shetland Islands in Scotland.