x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Abu Dhabi's Taqa strikes oil in North Sea field

Taqa's discovery in the Darwin oil field near the Shetland Islands in Scotland raises the prospect of increased output.

A Taqa platform in the North Sea, pictured in July 2011.
A Taqa platform in the North Sea, pictured in July 2011.

Abu Dhabi's Taqa has struck oil in the UK's North Sea, raising the prospect of increased Brent crude output in British waters.

State-controlled Taqa, also known as Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, discovered crude at its Darwin oilfield near the Scottish Shetland Islands, the company announced yesterday.

"This discovery proves that the North Sea still has great potential and that it is possible to unlock opportunity and produce growth through the use of cutting-edge technology and focused investment," said Leo Koot,the managing director of Taqa's UK oil and gas operations.

The US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) acquisition of BP's UK offshore assets last November confirmed the North Sea as Taqa's oil production hub. The assets increased Taqa's production in UK waters by about 50 per cent to 60,000 barrels per day.

Taqa's interest has made it the largest foreign investor in the country, with $4bn poured into the UK in the past four years. The British prime minister, David Cameron, has lauded its investment drive.

The company is embarking on a range of new drilling programmes in the North Sea. Last month, Taqa began production at the Cormorant East field, where reserves are estimated at 10 million to 30 million barrels.

Taqa did not confirm the scope of reserves and future production levels. Fairfield Energy, which owns the rights to half the field, estimates that production at Darwin is likely by 2018.

Taqa's position as a major player was underlined when a leak last month at its Cormorant Alpha platform shut 80,000bpd of oil pumped by a number of companies.

fneuhof@thenational.ae