Qatar eyes RWE’s oil and gas exploration and production unit

Dea optQatar Investment Authority has held talks with RWE regarding the purchase of the German utility firm's Dea oil and gas exploration and production unit

RWE said in March 2013 that it was planning to sell RWE Dea AG in a move to slash its capital spending and cut its debt pile, with sources and analysts valuing the unit at between US$6.5bn to US$10.4bn.

“The deal has been moving very slowly and no decision with Qatar should be expected anytime soon,” a company source said.

Interest in purchasing the unit, which holds stakes in about 190 oil and gas licences or concessions in 14 countries across Europe and the Middle East, was also likely to come from companies that co-own licences or concessions with the unit, the source added.

RWE sources said it wants to sell Dea as a whole, but that could be difficult due to the complex structure of the unit which shares licences and concessions with companies including Norway’s Statoil, France’s GDF Suez, Italy’s Edison and Wintershall, the oil and gas arm of Germany’s BASF.

So far, Wintershall has been the only company to publicly confirm interest in RWE Dea AG, which employs nearly 1,400 people and accounted for 23 per cent of RWE’s operating profit in 2012.

The company has hired Goldman Sachs to manage the sale, invested US$914mn in 2011 and in 2012, a number expected to rise to about US$1.17bn this year.

Meanwhile, RWE is also trying to sell its 16.7 per cent stake in uranium enrichment company Urenco.

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