Engie Sees Possible Exploration, Production Purchases in Months

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Engie, the French utility giant formerly known as GDF Suez SA, is studying fossil-fuel acquisitions.

The former GDF Suez SA is seeking deals in exploration and production that may lead to a purchase in coming months, according to Didier Holleaux, Engie’s head of international E&P.

“We are looking each time something good comes on the market,” Holleaux said on Thursday. “We are looking at a lot of opportunities and we hope to conclude one or two in the coming months. It remains uncertain.”

Engie seeks to raise reserves in the medium term to about

1.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent from 760 million at the end of 2014. Talisman Energy Inc. and BG Group Plc, bought by Repsol SA and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, respectively, were too big for Engie, Holleaux said, declining to detail possible deals.

Engie’s own exploration allowed the company to renew its reserves but acquisitions are needed to raise them, he said.

The company plans to increase sales of liquefied natural gas by about a fifth in five years, partly through exports of U.S. shale gas, Chief Executive Officer Gerard Mestrallet said.

“Prospects for gas globally are very favorable,” he told reporters on Wednesday in Mareil-le-Guyon, France.

Engie plans to add shipments from the Cameron LNG export terminal in Louisiana and possibly from future projects in Indonesia and the Philippines to its existing supply contracts. The operator of Europe’s largest natural-gas network is seeking to expand sales of the fossil fuel, as well as electricity, in faster-growing markets such as Asia and the Middle East.

Gas Output

Gas output is expected to grow in almost all regions except Europe by 2040, the International Energy Agency said in November. LNG exports will almost double, taking share from pipelines, according to the adviser to 29 developed countries.

Engie plans to raise its annual sales of the super-cooled gas shipped by tanker to 20 million metric tons by 2020, from

16.4 million, a presentation by the company showed. It operates 14 tankers and sold 142 cargoes in 2014, making it Europe’s biggest LNG importer and second-biggest terminal operator.

“Liquefied shale gas from the U.S. will help supply Asia and maybe even Europe one day,” Mestrallet said. The first commercial cargo from Cameron LNG, in which Engie has a 16.6 percent stake, is expected in 2018.

Engie plans to start producing gas from the Cygnus project off U.K. shores at the end of 2015 and from Touat in Algeria and Jangkrik in Indonesia in 2017, according to the presentation.

Output from Cygnus will “more likely” come at the start of 2016, Holleaux said.

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