Repsol to invest $24bn to develop, explore oil wells
SPANISH oil giant Repsol said on Tuesday it plans to invest 19.1 billion euros ($24 billion) over the next four years, mostly to develop recently discovered wells and in new explorations.
“Nearly 80 percent of the investments of the group are destined for upstream, which is the growth motor of the group,” it said in a statement to outline its strategic plan for 2012-16.
It is the first plan released by the company since Argentine President Cristina Kirchner on May 4 signed a bill nationalising oil and gas producer YPF, which Repsol had controlled with 51 percent stake.
Repsol said it had identified ten “key growth projects” for its investments in 2012-16 in Algeria, Brazil, Bolivia, Russia, the United States, Spain, Peru and Venezuela.
It said it plans to pump 500,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day by 2016, an annual production growth rate of more than 7 percent during the period. The company had previously forecast growth of 3-4 percent for the period.
Repsol predicts its 2016 net profit will be 1.8 times the 1.7 billion euros it posted last year, boosted by the rise in production.
The company said it would slash its dividend payout ratio to conserve cash in the wake of the nationalisation of its Argentine unit.
Repsol said its dividend payout ratio through 2016 will fall to 40-55 percent, from a previous range of 50- 60 percent.
Kirchner has argued that the nationalisation of YPF was justified because Argentina faces sharp rises in its bill for imported oil, and Repsol has failed to make agreed investments needed to expand domestic production.
Repsol was left with 6.4 percent of YPF, Argentina’s leading oil and gas company, following the nationalisation.
Repsol has said it will seek at least $10 billion in compensation for its expropriated shares, as well as international arbitration to settle the claim. Argentina counters that Repsol is leaving $9 billion in debt, while in just over a decade it earned more than $15.7 billion, most of it sent overseas and not reinvested.
Shares in Repsol fell 2.93 percent to 13.41 euros in late morning trade. Spain’s main Ibex-35 stock index fell 1.23 percent.