x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Taqa to sell equity in Dutch gas firm for $240m

Taqa announces the sale of its 40 per cent stake in Noordgastransport gas pipeline in the Netherlands for about US$240 million.

Above, Taqa’s Netherlands oil and gas operations. Courtesy Taqa
Above, Taqa’s Netherlands oil and gas operations. Courtesy Taqa

Abu Dhabi National Energy said yesterday it had reached an agreement to sell its 40 per cent stake in Noordgastransport (NGT), a natural gas pipeline in the Netherlands, for about US$240 million.

The state utility, also known as Taqa, will sell its stake in NGT to the Danish pension fund PensionDanmark. The transaction, which is still subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to close by the end of the year.

Scotiabank served as Taqa’s sole financial adviser for the sale.

“We decided that the investment in the Noordgastransport pipeline no longer fitted with our growth strategy in the Netherlands, which is focused on maximising the value of our portfolio and delivering Gas Storage Bergermeer,” said David Cook, Taqa’s head of oil and gas.

Taqa acquired its stake in NGT when it took over its parent company DSM Energy in July 2009 from Royal DSM, a Dutch life sciences and materials sciences company for €285m (Dh1.39 billion at current exchange rates).

NGT consists about 470 kilometres of pipelines with a daily gas transportation capacity of about 42 million cubic metres. It is operated by GDF Suez E&P.

Taqa’s oil and gas production activities in the Netherlands grew to 8,300 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the third quarter, 12 per cent higher than the same period last year.

The company, the largest UAE investor in Holland, is building what will be Europe’s largest gas storage facility at Bergermeer. Phase one of operations at the facility is scheduled to begin in the middle of next year, with full capacity to come online in 2015.

Separately, Taqa told Bloomberg News yesterday that it planned to commence production at the Atrush oilfield in northern Iraq as soon as the end of next year.

Production was expected to commence at 30,000 barrels per day (bpd), rising to 60,000 bpd in 2016, said Leo Koot, Taqa’s head of Iraq operations. Mr Koot said Taqa would sell its Iraqi oil at international prices, albeit at a discount to North Sea Brent crude, because of its high sulphur content.

Taqa won approval last month to pump its first oil in the Kurdish region of Iraq, where it is investing $300m to develop the Atrush block.

Taqa’s shares ended trade yesterday at Dh1.29 apiece.

jeverington@thenational.ae