Mubadala to expand foreign energy holdings

Mubadala Oil and Gas, the state-owned Abu Dhabi energy venture, could triple production to more than 1 million barrels per day.

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Mubadala Oil and Gas, the state-owned Abu Dhabi energy venture, could triple production to more than 1 million barrels per day (bpd) within about six years, equivalent to more than a quarter of the current UAE output. The company, a unit of Mubadala Development, currently pumps more than 350,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from its shares of oil and gas projects in 10 different countries, Maurizio La Noce, the chief executive, said yesterday.

"We are structured as an independent oil and gas company, medium-sized," he told the Abu Dhabi 2009 conference. "We want to become the pre-eminent independent oil and gas company in the eastern hemisphere." To get there, Mubadala Oil is aiming to increase its average holding in foreign oil and gas developments to 50 per cent in the next few years from 15 per cent to 20 per cent currently, Mr La Noce said. If it remains a partner in all its current projects, oil and gas production would be as much as 1.2 million bpd.

Much of the new output could come from Kazakhstan, where the company is in a joint venture with the US oil firm ConocoPhillips to seek oil and gas below the Caspian Sea. The partners hope to book as much as 3 billion barrels of reserves in the next three to four years, Mr La Noce said. In another joint venture in Oman, Mubadala Oil and its partner Occidental Petroleum have recently raised production to 90,000 bpd from 80,000 bpd and are aiming to boost output from their oil and gas concession to 150,000 bpd within five years, Mr La Noce said.

Mubadala Oil, the US-based Occidental Petroleum and the French oil firm Total also produce more than 2 billion cubic feet per day of gas from Qatar for their Dolphin Energy joint venture, which exports the gas to the UAE and Oman. In addition, Dolphin produces significant volumes of condensate, a type of light oil often found in gas reservoirs, for international export. Extending their relations, Mubadala Oil and Occidental announced yesterday that they had formed a joint venture with National Oil and Gas Authority of Bahrain to boost output from the only oilfield in Bahrain.

Mr La Noce said the Mubadala oil and gas operations were tightly focused on the MENA and Caspian regions and South East Asia. The geographic focus allows Mubadala Oil to avoid direct competition with other Abu Dhabi Government entities with overseas investments in the upstream oil and gas sector. Abu Dhabi accounts for more than 90 per cent of UAE oil production, which recently stood at 2.2 million to 2.3 million bpd. The UAE total oil and gas output capacity is believed to be equivalent to about 3.8 million bpd of oil.