GCC making long-term investments in Canada

    TORONTO and CALGARY, Jan. 17 /CNW Telbec/ - With oil prices reaching
record highs, and gas prices remaining comparatively low, Canada's natural
resources are grabbing the attention - and investment dollars - of the Gulf
Cooperation Council (GCC) states (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain,
Kuwait, Oman and Qatar). Two recent acquisitions by UAE's Abu Dhabi National
Energy Company (known as "TAQA") in Alberta's oil and gas sector were among
2007's largest deals by GCC companies according to the Financial Times. In an
article dated January 7, 2008, the FT noted that TAQA's $2.0 billion
acquisition of Northrock Resources in May ranked eighth and its $4.6 billion
acquisition of Calgary-based PrimeWest Energy Trust announced in September
ranked fourth on the list of the top GCC deals worldwide in 2007. In addition
to these transactions, TAQA also made a third acquisition of Pioneer Canada
for $540 million in August 2007.
    "These TAQA deals represent the introduction of a new source of capital
into Alberta's oil and gas market," says Michael Black, a prominent energy
sector lawyer and member of Heenan Blaikie's Executive Committee. The firm
represented TAQA on all the deals, lending its energy and M&A expertise in
brokering these large cross-border acquisitions. The TAQA deals were part of
the record $83 billion invested worldwide by GCC entities in 2007. This
doubled the GCC investments made in 2006.
    "GCC investment is still a relatively small part of worldwide M&A
transactions, but bold investments like the TAQA deals are proof that the GCC
investors are becoming big players globally," says Subrata Bhattacharjee,
Co-Chair of Heenan Blaikie's National Trade and Competition Group. "This is an
exciting time. Our firm is working with a growing number of inbound foreign
investors who see Canada as a prime investment opportunity."
    Commenting on TAQA, TAQA Chief Executive Officer, Peter Barker-Homek,
    "TAQA is a truly global company that prides itself on the diversity of
its operations and workforce and being a meritocracy - women/men from all
nationalities have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Today we
have over 2,500 employees who come from 38 nations and are employed in nine
countries. Our company values of transparency, accountability, health and
safety standards and social responsibility are shared across the group and
mean that we are rapidly earning a reputation as a best practice operator. The
closing of these transactions are an important milestone in our company's
history. TAQA is one of the first state-backed enterprises to become a top ten
oil and gas company outside its country of origin, and TAQA aspires to be a
standard bearer for how such enterprises conduct themselves in overseas
markets. On behalf of all the employees of TAQA I would like to express our
gratitude for the special trust and confidence the government authorities of
Canada have placed in TAQA. Be assured, we won't let you down."

    Heenan Blaikie is one of Canada's top national law firms. It delivers
strategic legal advice and innovative business solutions under six broad
sectors: business law, tax, labour and employment, litigation, intellectual
property, and entertainment. Founded in 1973, the firm is now more than
425 lawyers strong and still growing. Heenan Blaikie has nine offices in
Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec.

For further information:

For further information: Karyn McLean, Director, Marketing and
Communications, Heenan Blaikie, (416) 643 6863, F - (416) 360 8425,

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