KOOT: “We want big exposure to Northern North Sea assets. We feel there is a lot of oil to be developed. If you just look at the Triassic, there’s 750mmb of oil to be tapped, so we’re very much focused on drilling additional wells from the installations we’re now involved in.
“The second tier of activities will be around using the Northern North Sea assets as a hub.
“There are undeveloped discoveries around our assets, plus there are more mature assets that are abandoned, such as NW Hutton, which are obvious tie-back targets for our infrastructure.
“We’re in negotiation with Shell over one particular opportunity.
“Third, having established ourselves as a full-blown operator, we are a very strong partner for existing players keen to divest. When there are further asset divestments, we’re going to be in a good place to bid for them.
“The fourth tier is corporate acquisitions and the fifth is taking non-operated positions, applying for licences and doing a bit of exploration and appraisal.”
Zooming in on Brae, Taqa’s UK starter deal, Koot said he was confident that the company would achieve the dialogue necessary with operator Marathon for its voice to be heard and expertise to be recognised.
However, he said it was also important to learn, and that being involved in Brae would help enormously in that regard.
“Taqa is a learning organisation. We want to learn from what’s going on there and see if we can export that elsewhere in our organisation. It’s a very strong strategic move. Plus we see a lot of value in the assets as well.
“We’re aligning ourselves with other partners in Brae and, together with the other partners, we’re confident we can get to a good influencing position with the operator.”
Koot added that it was no secret Taqa wanted to build its position in Brae. Moreover, it wanted to maximise its stake in anything acquired if reasonably possible.
“We’d love 100%. We hedge our E&P risk by playing in midstream and downstream. Downstream … you know exactly what you’re going to make in 10 years’ time … very stable, predictable. Midstream offers slightly more advantage.
“Upstream … you are riding the cycle. But even with a 100% stake we are sufficiently covered on the downside.”
Koot said that, because money was not an issue for Taqa, it was brilliantly placed to play the assets market.
He agreed that there has never been a better time to buy in the North Sea, with companies valued at buttons – especially new-generation E&P firms reeling from share-price demolition jobs.
“Here we are; we’re backed by a sovereign wealth fund and have a lot of cash available. We’re now in a very strong position to grow.
“Of course, there are external factors like the oil price to consider, but yes, we are very interested to see if we can pick up such opportunities.”