OMV buys key Statoil oil fields for at least $2.65 billion

OMV buys key Statoil oil fields for at least $2.65 billion

OMV buys key Statoil oil fields for at least $2.65 billion

Gas pipes are pictured at Gas Connect Austria's gas distribution node in Baumgarten some 40 km east of Vienna March 6, 2013. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

Norway’s Statoil has sold stakes in several key oil fields to OMV, freeing at least $2.65 billion for capital expenditure and boosting the Austrian firm’s presence in Norway’s booming oil industry.

Statoil sold 19 percent of Gullfaks, 24 percent of Gudrun and agreed optional cooperation in 11 of Statoil’s exploration licenses in the Norwegian North Sea, West of Shetland and the Faroe Islands.

The deal, which includes a firm $2.65 billion, could increase by a further $500 million to cover additional investments, freeing cash for Statoil as it spends $19 billion on bringing a string of new discoveries into production.

“Through this transaction, Statoil captures value created through asset development and unlocks capital for investment in high-return projects in core areas,” Statoil Chief Executive Helge Lund said.

However, it will also make it more difficult for Statoil to reach its target of lifting production to 2.5 million barrels of oil equivalents (boe) by 2020, from about 2 million last year.

For OMV, meanwhile, the deal lifts its proven and probable reserves by about 320 million boe, or about 19 percent, and will boost production by about 40,000 barrels in 2014 and almost 60,000 barrels in 2016.

OMV, which produced about 297,000 boe per day in the second quarter, targets production of 350,000 boe per day by 2016.

“The transaction will provide a huge boost to OMV’s strategy and will be a key factor in achieving our 2016 targets,” Gerhard Roiss, the Austrian company’s chief executive, said.

“It confirms OMV’s clear focus towards increasing the significance of its exploration and production activities.

Gullfaks, onstream since 1986, is one of Statoil’s most mature projects and Gudrun is one of its newest, with production set to start in 2012.