Dana Petroleum, a UK oil company owned by the Korea National Oil Company (Knoc), has embarked on a multi billion-dollar growth programme that will see it competing for contracts in the region.
Intent on growing its oil production to 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) by 2016, Dana is poised to invest about US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) a year to achieve this target. Its present production stands at 64,000 bpd.
The company is seeking to grow in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and it is already operating in eight countries. Marcus Richards, Dana's chief executive, said he was in negotiations over new business in the Middle East.
"We're looking very carefully at where we want to be in the Middle East," he said.
Knoc is already committed to the region after signing an agreement with Abu Dhabi to explore a vast tract of land in the emirate.
Dana reported a profit after tax of $293 million last year, compared with a loss of $8.4m a year earlier. The improvement in its finances owes much to last year's high oil prices, said Mr Richards.
The company is planning to reinvest the profits from its running operations into organic growth and is able to draw on a $870m loan facility for acquisitions.
Much of Dana's focus will be on smaller fields overlooked by larger international oil companies. Mr Richards hopes the company's appeal to national oil companies will be enhanced by Dana's practice to recruit and train domestic staff.
Job creation is high on the agenda of Arab governments, and Dana will be pushing its message during contract negotiations.
Another selling point is the company's expertise in producing in mature fields. Many of the oilfields in the Gulf are depleting and producers need to apply their know-how to keep up reservoir pressure. Dana is familiar with pressure-preserving methods such as flooding fields with water, as well as more advanced enhanced oil recovery technologies.
"Good reservoir management is part of our strategy. There are huge opportunities in this area," said Mr Richards.
In the Middle East, Dana is already active in Egypt, where it produces 12,000 bpd.
Unlike its namesake, Dana Gas in Sharjah, the UK company said it did not have any problems receiving payment during the political upheaval of the Arab Spring.
Its largest operations are in the UK, where it produces 33,000 bpd.
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