By James Jukwey
New oilfields in East Ras Qattara block will help Kuwait Energy to boost production to 15,000 boepd.
New oilfields in Egypt will help independent oil firm Kuwait Energy Co (KEC) to boost their production capacity to 15,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) this year, a senior company official said on Monday.KEC, a small oil and gas exploration and production firm, also said it is delaying plans to list on the London stock exchange amid a global economic downturn.
The firm said on Monday it had found two new oilfields in Egypt's East Ras Qattara block which boosted production to 5,285 barrels per day of light crude up from 900 bpd.
"We made the discovery three months ago and we are still in the exploration phase," Chief Operation Officer Mohammad al-Howqal told Reuters. "We see potential there. By end of this year we will either ask for extension to continue exploration or go ahead with developing the fields," he said.
KEC's share and working interest of the East Ras Qattara field is 49.50 percent, while Chile's state-run Enap Sipetrol owns the rest, Howqal said.
The East Ras Qattara was one of the assets acquired by KEC through its $200 million acquisition of Australia's Oil Search Middle East and North Africa (MENA) last year.
KEC, which was founded in 2005 and has operations in Yemen, Pakistan, Ukraine, Russia, Indonesia, Oman and Cambodia, is targeting daily production of 15,000 of boepd in 2009, from 10,000 boepd at the end of last year, he said.
"By the end of 2010, we hope we can reach 50,000 boepd, this is our (KEC) target," Howqal said. "This will come through the existing assets that we have and will try to develop, plus new acquisitions."
Other than Egypt, which makes up almost half of the firm's production, the firm sees a lot of potential for gas production in Ukraine, its chief executive Sara Akbar told Reuters.
"This week we are signing a $30 million contract with a drilling company in Ukraine," she said. "We are drilling three wells this year and seven wells next year."
The firm has put on hold a planned listing on the London stock exchange until market conditions improve amid the global financial crisis, while profit this year could take a hit on the back of lower oil prices, Akbar said.
"I don't think it's fair for our shareholders to list now," Akbar said. "I expect the profit this year to be much lower than our target because of (low) oil prices... and financing new acquisitions will not be easy," she said.
In 2007, KEC posted net profit of $20.59 million. It has not posted its 2008 earnings yet.
Akbar said the firm is still working on a gas project in Iraq but it is not clear yet when it will sign a final agreement due to the political situation in the country.
In 2007, KEC signed a memorandum of understanding to develop several projects including developing the small Siba gas field.
KEC's profile grew on the international stage after it signed a partnership agreement in August to take a stake in a newly formed state oil firm in Somalia.
KEC is still in talks with the Somali government for the formation of its state oil company, Akbar said. (Reuters)