Kuwait's Aref Energy says may sell Texas JV in 2010

on July 07 2009 10:40 AM

Kuwait's Aref Energy Holding Co may sell a stake in its gas joint-venture in Texas next year in a scheme to diversify investments, the firm's general manager said on Tuesday.

In 2007, Aref set up DeWitt Tract Co, a fully owned unit with a 50 percent share in a 20-year oil and gas drilling and production concession in 75,000 acres of land in DeWitt County, Texas.

Aref expects to more than double the $40 million it has paid if it reaches a deal to sell its stake in the joint-venture, Zeyad al-Oudah told Reuters.

We might sell a part or all of our stake, depending on the returns that we will get, he said.

The energy firm hopes to start talks in 2010 for the stake sale, after which DeWitt Tract could be shut down, he said.

DeWitt was set up for the purpose of the project, he said.

Last year, Aref said its joint venture with Weber Energy and Geosouthern Energy Corp had found recoverable reserves of 4.75 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in Texas.

Aref, which wants to focus more on investing in the oil and gas services sector, has allocated about $130 million for acquisitions in 2009 and eyes opportunities in the Gulf and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regions, Oudah said.

Aref Energy is a Sharia-compliant firm that invests in the energy sector. It is a unit of Aref Investment Group which owns a 40.49 percent stake in the firm, according to Kuwaiti bourse data.

(Reporting by Eman Goma; Editing by Peter Blackburn)