By Aziz El Yaakoubi and Maha El Dahan
ABU DHABI, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Spanish energy company Cepsa has set aside more than 1 billion euros for new investments in 2018, and it is looking at different opportunities to grow in Asia, Latin America and elsewhere, its chief executive said.
Pedro Miro told Reuters the board approved the company's budget last week in Abu Dhabi, where Cepsa's sole shareholder Abu Dhabi'sMubadala Investment Co. is based, and agreed on allowing 1 to 2 billion euros of new investments for the year.
"We had a board session last week here in Abu Dhabi, and the board approved the budget for next year, and we can say the standard capex for investments for a year is between 1 and 2 billion euros," Miro told Reuters in an interview.
"We want to keep a solid balance sheet, so this is something that we can do without stretching too much our financial health," he added.
Miro said that the company is looking at opportunities in Asia and Latin America and that investments would include new petrochemical plants as well as acquisitions. However, the company remains committed to its domestic market in Europe.
"In Europe, it is difficult to build a new factory because there is no more consumption, but to keep the existing ones, we invest $100 million per year per refinery," he said.
In Algeria, the company signed an agreement last year to extend partnership contracts for two oilfields there. Under the deal, contracts for the Rhourde El Krouf (RKF) and Ourhoud oilfields will be extended by 25 years and 10 years respectively.
Cepsa owns 40 percent of Ourhoud, which has around 1 billion barrels of reserves, making it one of the 10 largest discoveries in the world.
The company produces around 50,000 barrels per day from the two oilfields and expects it to increase by around 50 percent in the near future.
"We have 100 million barrels of reserves to be recovered (in Ourhoud), and we expect an additional production of 25,000 barrels per day... in around two years to three years," Miro said.
The company is also developing a gas field in Timimoun in southern Algeria with Total and Sonatrach and expects its first cubic meters out of the field by the end of next year.
"The production (from Timimoun) will be approximately 1 bcm per year," he said.