(Corrects Q4 loss in paragraph 5 to 372 mln dirhams from 1.048 bln dhs, and year ago profit to 343 mln dhs from 261 mln dhs.)
* Capex mainly for five projects globally
* TAQA opportunistic on tapping bond market
* Co spent $1.9 bln in 2011
By Stanley Carvalho
ABU DHABI, March 14 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA) expects to increase capital spending to between $2.0 billion to $2.2 billion this year as it pushes ahead with expansion plans.
TAQA, which is 75-percent owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, spent $1.9 billion in 2011, Chief Executive Carl Sheldon said in a conference call on Wednesday, adding this year’s spending would mainly go towards five long-term projects.
“This year it (capex) runs in the order of $2 to $2.2 billion in long range projects,” Sheldon said.
TAQA plans to spend on oil and gas drilling in western Canada and the North Sea, as well as in expansion programmes in Morocco, Ghana and the Bergermeer gas project in the Netherlands, he said.
The firm made a fourth-quarter loss of 372 million dirhams ($101 million) according to Reuters calculations, compared with a 343 million dirhams profit in the same period of 2010.
The loss was mainly due to an impairment charge on gas producing assets in Canada, Sheldon said.
TAQA, which sold a 650 million Malaysian ringgit denominated Islamic bond or sukuk last month, will go to the bond market on an opportunistic basis, he said.
The sukuk was part of the firm’s 3.5 billion Malaysian ringgit sukuk programme, which was established late last year.
“There is no pressure to go to the market and our capex is funded from our operations,” Stephen Kersley, chief financial officer, said.
TAQA’s total outstanding debt at the end of 2011 was 72.1 billion dirhams of which nearly half is project debt and the remainder corporate debt, Kersley said.
The firm which is a low bidder in Dubai’s Hassyan 1 power project, may consider bidding for Dubai’s mega solar power project, said Sheldon, adding TAQA may also bid for renewable energy projects in Morocco.
TAQA shares were up 3.2 percent on the Abu Dhabi bourse Wednesday. They have risen 5 percent so far this year. (Reporting by Stanley Carvalho; Editing by Mark Potter)