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Tullow has not applied to look for oil in Irish waters, says Heavey

TULLOW Oil, the largest company listed on the Dublin stock exchange, has not applied to look for oil in Irish waters, chief executive Aidan Heavey said yesterday.

The company, which has become the biggest operator in Africa over the past 25 years, is only interested in looking for oil in areas with certain types of rocks and geology, Heavey said after a meeting for Irish shareholders in Dublin. Ireland does not have the sort oil fields that Tullow understands, the former Aer Lingus accountant added.

Tullow's sales are set to double this year as oil flows from the company's fields off the coast of Ghana, shareholders were told.


"We should at least double our revenue," he said. Tullow wants to ramp-up production from Ghana's Jubilee field to 120,000 barrels a day in 2011.

"I think we're in good shape. We have big plans for the future. We have the people and the cash flow," he told a meeting for shareholders who could not attend the company's recent annual meeting in London.

The company is also likely to pay off its debts and bank around £1bn when the long-delayed deal to sell a part of its operations in Uganda to China's CNOC and Total is finalised within the "next few weeks", he added. Heavey was not definitive about when the deal, which will transform Tullow, will be finalised and added it could yet take months.

Tullow is unlikely to be taken over because it is too big and the oil majors need independent exploration companies, he added.

"People have been saying for ages that Tullow will be taken over," he told shareholders. "I don't think it will happen. Companies tend to be taken over when they want to be."

The company is presently looking for oil in Kenya and Ethiopia and will know in about 12 months whether this will lead to further finds, he added.

Asked by a shareholder how the company managed to avoid bribery, Mr Heavey said the company had a policy from the beginning of not paying any bribes and had become known for it.

Irish Independent