Norway blocks OMV-Gazprom swap deal; Austrian group to buy Siberian assets from Russian giant

Newsroom 04/10/2018 | 12:38

Austrian energy group OMV, the owner of Romania’s largest oil & gas group OMV Petrom, said it had agreed to buy Siberian gas assets from Gazprom instead of swapping them for some of its own assets, giving in to opposition from Norway to the initial plans, according to Reuters.

Norway is Europe’s second-largest gas supplier after Russia.

Under a deal agreed in late 2016, OMV offered to swap a 38.5-percent stake in its Norwegian unit for a 25-percent stake in a section of Gazprom’s Urengoy gas field.

In May, the minister in charge of approving the deal said in Norway’s first comments on the matter that the country is not happy with the proposed transaction.

“We have told OMV that we are not happy for it. But we have said that, if there is an application, we will of course handle it,” Norway’s minister of energy Terje Soeviknes said in an interview, adding that an application had not yet been submitted.

OMV head Rainer Seele said in March he expected to close the deal by the end of 2018 as the company looks to cut costs and secure gas reserves.

Last year, OMV paid 1.75 billion euros for a stake in the Yuzhno Russkoye field, one of Russia’s largest gas fields, which added 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day to its production.

In 2016, OMV said that the Siberian Achimov assets would add more than 80,000 boe per day by 2025. For OMV, production in the area is cheap and pipelines to Austria are available.

The Austrian group is one of Gazprom’s partners in building the new Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which is planned to double Russia’s capacity to pipe gas across the Baltic Sea to Europe.

The original swap deal would have allowed Gazprom access to technological know-how in Norway.

However, OMV managers have said that Gazprom will benefit just as much from OMV’s technological expertise in developing the fields in Russia.

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