Repsol YPF chairman Antoni Brufau on announcing Tuesday the discovery in Libya of its largest ever oil field and lower profits in 2006, admitted that the company was looking for another shareholder for its Argentine branch YPF.
"We're studying other alternatives for YPF such as incorporating another shareholder", said Brufau when asked about the postponement of plans to list part of the Argentine unit YPF SA. "We prefer to wait a few months to see if the gap between prices in Argentina and international price narrows", said Brufau. As to the possibility of Petrobras as a potential partner, "this could be problematical from an anti-trust point of view". Repsol-YPF also had to admit that compliance with Bolivia's policy of nationalizing the country's oil and gas reserves cost the company a negative impact of 300 million Euros on the 2006 balance sheet because of the downward revision of some 467 million barrels of oil. On the bright side Brufau announced that Repsol-YPF had discovered in Libya its largest ever oil field, which will double the company's production and reserves in that country. The oil field, located in the NC186 and NC115 blocks of Libya's Murzuq basin, holds 474 million barrels of oil, Repsol said in a back up statement. The field has total hydrocarbon content, or oil in place, of 1.26 billion barrels. The discovery was made by Repsol Oil Operations, a joint venture between the Madrid-based company and National Oil Co. of Libya. Repsol produces about 250,000 barrels a day of crude oil in Libya and is the country's leading private corporation with proven reserves of over 70 million barrels. Regarding numbers the corporation's adjusted net profit dropped 12.3% to 3.092 billion Euros in the full-year to December from a year earlier, on a 13.7% slide in operating profit to 5.776 billion from 6.694 billion. Operating profit was hit by weaker refining margins as well as the dollar's depreciation against the euro, which offset higher crude prices. Repsol-YPF fourth quarter adjusted net profit was 45.2% lower at 547 million Euros while adjusted operating profit was down 46.8% at 974 million Euros. Non-adjusted full-year net profit was little changed at 3.124 billion Euros from 3.120 billion, while non-adjusted operating fell 4.1% to 5.911 billion Euros from 6.161 billion Euros. Net debt fell to 4.396 billion Euros at end-December from 4.513 billion at the start of the year. The depreciation of the dollar against the euro contributed 182 million Euros to debt reduction, it said, adding that the improvement in the company's balance sheet financed the 1.410 billion Euros of investments in the fourth quarter. Total investments for the year grew 108% to 4.062 billion Euros from 1.948 billion a year earlier. The company will invest some 5.1 billion Euros in 2007. On the outlook for global production at the group, chairman Brufau said he expects this to be over one million bpd in the coming years, underpinned by 'more or less stable' levels in Argentina, increased output in both Bolivia and Trinidad and Tobago, and production coming on stream from the Gulf of Mexico.