Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa), a state-controlled investor, continues to buy UK assets despite a big hit by additional taxes levied on oil and gas operations by the British government.
Taqa Bratani, the investment company's UK subsidiary, has bought into three concessions off the coast of Scotland, in the same week that Taqa revealed that additional UK taxes had reduced its full-year earnings by almost Dh1.6 billion (US$436 million).
Under the two farm-in agreements, Taqa acquires from Fairfield Energy a 50 per cent stake in blocks in the Darwin oilfield, a recent discovery located off the coast of the Shetland Islands.
"These licences are located adjacent to our existing core infrastructure and represent an excellent opportunity for Taqa to expand its footprint in the northern North Sea. Darwin has very exciting exploration and development," said Leo Koot, the managing director of Taqa Bratani.
Full-year results released on Tuesday show that profits last year had slumped by 26 per cent, as the company was lumbered with an impairment charge arising from the re-evaluation of its assets in Canada, held by its Taqa North division.
The impairment of Dh706m resulted in a charge of Dh528m after a deferred tax benefit had been deducted.
The charge is dwarfed by the UK oil tax increase, which came into effect last year, and the company has in the past been vocal about its disapproval of the fiscal regime.
"This did decrease investor confidence and we would hope to see more certainty and predictability," said a Taqa representative.
Taqa is poised to add to its North Sea portfolio; it is close to acquiring a 16.6 per cent working interest in the Cladhan fields close to existing company platforms.
Taqa is majority-owned by the Abu Dhabi Electricity and Water Authority (Adwea).
The company is also charged with investing in energy projects outside the emirate, and has built up a portfolio of oil and gas production and storage assets in Europe, Iraqi Kurdistan and Canada, and power plants on the African continent.
The company said it will spend about$10bn in the next five years on several projects: drilling in Western Canada and the North Sea, developing its natural-gas storage facility in the Netherlands, and expanding power plants in Morocco and Ghana.