Dana Petroleum, the Aberdeen-based oil and gas operator, repeated yesterday that it had noted Korea National Oil Corporation’s (KNOC) unsolicited cash offer of £18 a share, which valued the company at £1.7billion.
It said its board had not recommended this offer and Dana would present its detailed response, including information on the value of its assets, no later than September 8.
It added that the board urged Dana shareholders and bondholders to take no action prior to that date.
Tom Cross, the company’s chief executive, said yesterday he could say no more in the meantime, but added that Dana had huge upside to go for and was drilling two huge prospects: Cormoran, offshore Mauritania, with potential resources of 780million barrels, and Anne Marie, west of Shetland, with up to 300million barrels in place.
Mr Cross said he could not comment on speculation that Dana was talking to Canadian group Suncor about acquiring a package of assets in the UK North Sea.
He noted that Suncor’s acquisition of Petro-Canada this year, creating Canada’s biggest oil and gas operator, had left the merged business with more than £7billion of debt, which it was committed to reduce.
Dana has already acquired Petro-Canada Netherlands from Suncor in a £270million deal and Mr Cross agreed the Aberdeen company was bound to be linked to other Suncor asset sales in the North Sea.
Dana posted pre-tax profits of £82million yesterday for the six months to June 30, up from £21.89million a year earlier on revenue of £266.9million, compared with £178.49million.
Mr Cross said: “Dana performed very strongly in the first half.
“We have delivered interim profits in excess of those for the full year in 2009. We have also grown proved and probable reserves by 54million barrels of oil equivalent through new discoveries and via acquisition.
“The Dana team is delivering the most successful phase of growth in the company’s history and we will have a record year.
“With a full programme of exploration, production growth and development activity planned for the second half, this trajectory is set to continue upward. We have drilled 12 wells in the first half and are planning another 10 in the rest of the year.
“After securing substantial new debt facilities of more than £575million and with our rising production generating strong cash flows, we are very well financed to deliver our growth plans.”
Dana, the largest independent operating in the North Sea, also has Egypt as a core area and has high hopes for west Africa.
It now has interests in 55 producing fields and is expecting to exit 2010 with production of 51,000-plus barrels of oil equivalent per day.
KNOC continued to say it believed its offer to shareholders was full and fair and provided compelling value, and urged shareholders to accept no later than September 23. It reiterated that the offer was final unless competition emerged, Dana’s board recommended an offer, or Dana announced any material new information.