CANADIAN Natural Resources International (CNR) said today it was boosting investment in Africa after cutting spending in the North Sea in the wake of this year’s tax grab on oil and gas producers.
Announcing its third quarter results yesterday, the firm forecast it will have spent £144million on capital investment in the North Sea this year but is budgeting to increase that to £215million in 2012.
However, it said its capital investment offshore Africa, which is managed from Aberdeen, is to more than double to £80million in 2012.
James Edens, vice president and managing director of CNR, said: “In 2012, Canadian Natural expects the level of investment managed from it’s Aberdeen office, covering the North Sea and Offshore Africa to increase.”
However, he added: “2012 capital spending planned for the North Sea, while higher than 2011, continues to be hampered by the tax increase announced in the 2011 budget.
“Offshore Africa, 2012 budgeted capital has more than doubled, compared to 2011, and includes the commencement of work on an infill drilling programme on the Espoir field, offshore Cote d’Ivoire.
“This represents work that has been accelerated as a result of the reallocation of resources and capital, further to the UK Budget changes earlier this year, reflecting the choice that we have at Canadian Natural when it comes to allocating resource talent and capital to projects that maximise shareholder returns.”
The firm has previously said it was reducing its investment in the North Sea following the UK Government’s Budget decision to increase the supplementary charge on North Sea oil and gas producers.
North Sea production at CNR dropped 3% to 26,350 barrels of oil per day (bopd) during the third quarter compared the same period last year.
However, compared to the second quarter, it was down 20% due to scheduled turnarounds on the Ninian South and Tiffany platforms and natural field declines, the firm said.
Its offshore Africa production was 22,525 bopd in the three months to September 30, above its previous 19,000-22,000copf estimate, but below the 33,554 bopd achieved in the same period in 2010.
Overall production increased, led by the firm’s North American and Canadian operations, where there was record heavy oil production.
Revenue for the third quarter was £2billion, compared to £1.8billion in same the period last year.
Pre-tax profits were up to £711million in the latest period, from £495million in the third quarter of 2010.