Centrica in Canadian deal for gas assets


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The Independent Online

Two months after pulling out of plans to build Britain’s first new nuclear plants in a generation, Centrica and its Qatari partners yesterday invested C$1bn  (£639m) in a package of Canadian natural gas assets.

It is the first acquisition by Centrica, the owner of British Gas, and Qatar Petroleum International (QPI) since the pair signed a memorandum of understanding to co-operate on energy investment in December 2011.

The energy giant and the Qataris have bought natural gas and crude oil assets plus infrastructure in south and central Alberta and in north-east British Columbia from Calgary’s Suncor Energy. Centrica will hold  60 per cent, and QPI the remaining  40 per cent of the assets which will be enough to power one million homes each year. 

But critics condemned the energy giant for organising a string of foreign deals – just last month it announced a £10bn deal to buy gas from the US – after ripping up plans to build a fleet of nuclear plants in the UK to secure future energy supplies. Instead of investing in British plants, Centrica handed back £500m to shareholders.

Centrica’s chief executive, Sam Laidlaw, said: “The acquisition provides attractive returns in a region we know well, and significantly increases the size and quality of  our portfolio.”