The boss of Taqa’s North Sea business has predicted a “challenging year” ahead as the Abu-Dhabi oil firm publishes its 2019 results.
Taqa’s European segment, covering the UK and the Netherlands, saw earnings before interest and tax dip slightly in 2019 to £195.3m, from £213.8m the previous year.
It comes as the oil and gas industry faces down a severe drop in the price of Brent crude, bringing warnings in the last week of job losses and bankruptcies for the sector.
However, Donald Taylor, managing director of Taqa’s European Business based in Aberdeen, said the firm is positioned to deliver strongly on “areas within its control”.
He said: “2020 is set to be a challenging year for the industry; however, I am confident that we are well positioned to deliver strongly in the areas within our control, including a continued focus on safe and reliable operations.”
A number of firms have been reassessing spending plans in light of the covid-19 outbreak and reduced oil price.
However, Taqa made no comment on whether its Harding North project in the North Sea, due to be sanctioned in the second or third quarter of this year, will be pushed back.
The project involves the tie-back of three wells to the Harding platform, around 200miles north-east of Aberdeen, with a number of contracts having already been awarded.
Accounts specifically for Taqa Bratani, the firm’s UK subsidiary, will be due out later in 2020.
Mr Taylor did point to enhanced drilling activities at the Pelican, Cormorant east and North Cormorant fields over the course of 2019, as well as additional plugging and abandonment work at Pelican and, again, North Cormorant.
The overall Taqa business reported pre-tax profits of £328.7m, down 14% from £383.7m the prior year, on revenues of £4.1bn which were almost flat on 2018’s results.