When Cepsa took a 20% stake in Abu Dhabi’s Sarb & Umm Lulu concession in 2018 it was supposed to bolster the majority-Mubadala owned firm’s upstream business. And while gross output there has ramped up from around 20,000 b/d at the time to 110,000 b/d (22,000 b/d net to Cepsa) in the first quarter of this year, declines in Algeria, not to mention the oil price slump, have stymied attempts to see the company’s upstream segment challenge downstream and marketing & distribution as the key money earner.

Despite the chunky Abu Dhabi gains, Cepsa’s output has been on a steady downward trajectory since peaking at 123,000 b/d (on a working interest basis) in 2010. Even the addition of 23,000 b/d output in Malaysia and Thailand with the $2.2bn purchase of Coastal Energy in 2013 only temporarily halted the slump (MEES, 22 November 2013). (CONTINUED - 1124 WORDS)