OMV to Buy Statoil North Sea Assets for 265 Billion

OMV to Buy Statoil North Sea Assets for $2.65 Billion

"The agreement with Statoil to secure further exploration options in the north and west of the Shetlands reinforces our long-term development potential," OMV chief executive Gerhard Roiss said.

VIENNA -- Austrian oil and gas giant OMV (IW 1000/77) is buying North Sea oil and gas assets from Norwegian group Statoil (IW 1000/26) for $2.65 billion, the companies announced today.

The deal also covers collaboration on possible exploration off Norway and west and north of the Shetland Islands, as well new technologies for extracting hydrocarbons from mature fields.

The agreement enables OMV to diversify away from production in the unstable Middle East and North Africa region, and Statoil said it would use the money to develop new opportunities, notably on its continental shelf.

Statoil also announced the discovery off Norway of gas and condensates amounting to 25 million to 47 million barrels of oil equivalent, which was recoverable, on the basis of initial estimates.

The price of the OMV-Statoil deal is tied to performance of the assets in 2013, and OMV said that this could take the total value above $3.0 billion.

Under the deal, the biggest in OMV's history, the Austrian firm will take large shares of oil fields both off the coast of Norway and in British waters west of the Shetland Islands, OMV said.

A key part of the accord also calls for the collaboration of the two firms to develop new technologies for the extraction of oil and gas from ripe fields, OMV added.

OMV said that in addition to boosting its reserves, the agreement will "increase our presence in politically stable countries."

OMV's production in countries such as Libya, Iraq and Yemen has repeatedly come under strain in the past few years.

"The agreement with Statoil to secure further exploration options in the north and west of the Shetlands reinforces our long-term development potential," OMV chief executive Gerhard Roiss said.

Joint cooperation on how best to exploit oil and gas fields "will strongly contribute to our know-how," Roiss added.

Terms of the Deal

The deal includes an option for OMV to acquire 11 further exploration licenses in the same region.

Under the agreement, the Austrian company will take over 19% and 24%, respectively, of the Gullfaks and Gudrun fields off the Norwegian coast.

West of the Shetland Islands, OMV will also increase its share in the Rosebank field to 50%--from a previous 20%--and double its stake in Schiehallion to 11.8%.

Seventy percent of the fields' production is oil and 30% is gas, OMV said.

In Oslo, Statoil said it was selling 24.0% of two gas fields it operated: the Gullfaks field, which produces 26,000 barrels of oil-equivalent per day, and the Gudrun field, due to begin production in 2014.

The deals means that Statoil's interest in each field will fall to 51.0%.

It is also withdrawing from two oil fields off Scotland for which it is not the operator. This are the Schiehallion field run by BP and Rosebank, operated by Chevron.

Statoil said it expected the sale to yield a capital gain of $1.3 billion to 1.5 billion and that it would use the funds raised to invest in highly profitable projects in strategically important regions. These include recent discoveries on the Norwegian continental plateau.

Statoil said it had signed a partnership agreement with OMV covering potential cooperation on opportunities for exploration on waters off Norway and the Shetland Islands, and also in the development of enhanced oil recovery, which covers the technologies for lifting oil and gas typically with the injection of water or chemicals.

In Oslo, the price of shares in Statoil was showing a gain of 1.3%.

Copyright Agence France-Presse

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