Sharply divergent profit paths for Taqa and the Austrian petroleum group OMV show that oil and gas producers face political risks in developed countries that can be at least as high as in emerging economies.
OMV, which is 20 per cent owned by Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Company, yesterday posted a 5 per cent increase in first-quarter profit to €365 million (Dh1.93 billion), despite the loss of most of its Libyan oil output.
Taqa, which said its operations in the Middle East and North Africa were virtually unaffected by unrest, suffered a net fall in profit of 47 per cent because of an unexpected increase in UK taxes on oil and gas production.
"The first quarter of 2011 proved to be a very difficult one, where a strong operating performance was overshadowed by political turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East," said Gerhard Roiss, the OMV chief executive.
The markets will judge which company performed better last quarter and which had the greater risk exposure.