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OMV Libya output back to half of prewar level

Austrian energy giant says Libyan production should be at full levels within a year but admits difficulties in violence-torn Yemen

Reuters, Friday 2 Dec 2011
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Austrian energy group OMV's output from Libya has reached half the level it was before the civil war halted production, Chief Executive Gerhard Roiss said.

"At the moment we are at 50 per cent of the pre-war level," or at around 17,000 barrels per day, he told reporters on Friday, reiterating his view that it would take 12-15 months from the end of hostilities to restore full output.
 
OMV had said on 10 November that Libyan output -- which accounted for a tenth of OMV's production in 2010 -- had regained around 30 per cent of pre-war levels.
 
Output in Yemen remains shut given the damage to pipelines there, he said, saying "the political situation there remains very difficult". Yemen provided 6,600 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) in 2010.
 
Roiss provided no new details about the status of the Nabucco pipeline project that aims to bring Caspian gas to Europe, saying its future was largely out of OMV's hands given the geopolitical factors at play.
 
"Nabucco is not a central element of our strategy," he added, saying the important thing was getting gas from the Caspian region to customers in OMV's markets rather than which pipeline got used for this.
 
"We are very interested in Nabucco," he said. "Any pipeline that ends in (Austrian gas terminal) Baumgarten is important for our country, for Europe," he said.
 
Nabucco's shareholders are OMV, Germany's RWE , Hungary's MOL, Turkey's Botas, BEH of Bulgaria and Romania's Transgaz.
 
Nabucco and a Russian-designed pipeline South Stream, as well as other projects, are all vying for Azeri gas from the Shah Deniz field to boost fuel supplies to southern Europe.
 
Undermined by spiralling cost estimates and delays, the EU-backed Nabucco project aims to bring in up to 31 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas a year from the Caspian region.
 
The pipeline, which the European Commission has estimated will cost around 10 billion euros ($13.5 billion), is set to transport the first supplies in 2017 or 2018. The Commission has said it was open to talks on combining projects.
 
Roiss said he was unaware of any plans for Austria to reduce its 31.5 per cent stake in OMV as a way to cut state debt.
 
"I am not in talks with anyone. I also have no direct signals, calls or meetings scheduled on this subject," he said, adding he saw state holding company OeIAG's participation in OMV's capital increase as a sign it was a long-term investor.
 
Government officials have suggested that reducing state stakes in OMV and Telekom Austria to 25 per cent plus one share would be one way to help pay down debt quickly.
 
Abu Dhabi's IPIC has a 24.9 per cent stake in OMV.
 
Roiss said OMV's strategy for entering the renewables sector hinged on developing hydrogen infrastructure for the transport sector plus geothermal and biomass energy.
 
It also planned to spend 130 million euros plus development costs to search for shale gas in Austria if environmental issues can be resolved, Roiss said.
 
Like all exploration projects, the chances of this panning out were slight but success could cover Austrian demand of 8 billion cubic meters for two or three decades, he added.
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