Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi National Energy Co., the state-controlled oil and power producer known as Taqa, expects to benefit from the recovery of debt markets as it pursues expansion in electricity generation and distribution.

Taqa sold $1.5 billion of five- and 10-year dollar-denominated notes yesterday. It is evaluating fund-raising possibilities after expanding oil and gas projects in the North Sea, chief executive officer Peter Barker-Homek said in an interview.

"There are indications that there is market appetite," Barker-Homek said yesterday in Aberdeen, Scotland.

"There are indications that the debt market is coming back, which is positive. In the next 12 months, there is an emphasis on Taqa building its downstream story. We are opportunistic."

Taqa has been purchasing oil and gas fields from Royal Dutch Shell Plc and ExxonMobil Corp. in the North Sea. The company now intends to acquire or build new power projects in Europe and North America and is examining plans to develop a carbon-dioxide storage facility off the Netherlands.

"We've done a great job in establishing an upstream story in Europe, North America," Barker-Homek said.

"What we would like to do is layer power generation, transmission, distribution assets in Europe and also in North America. That's an area of focus."

The global recession tightened financial markets, forcing energy producers to scale back investment and delay projects as lenders restricted access to credit.

With signs that economies are starting to recover, state-owned UAE companies are studying plans to tap debt markets to fund developments.

"We are all making an effort not to step on each other's issues and have a clear market," Barker-Homek said.

"It's a consideration to get buyers and it's also a consideration to other companies within the UAE not to flood the market," he added.

Taqa intends to increase North Sea production and reserves in the next 12 months. The company plans to raise output to 75,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day in 2010 or 2011, from about 55,000 barrels a day now, Barker-Homek said.



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