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OMV aims for Libya oil output above pre-war level

Thursday, 23 February 2012 | 00:00
Austrian energy group OMV will try to get its oil output from Libya above pre-war levels this year, the company said while reporting fourth-quarter results that easily beat market expectations.
"In the international portfolio, OMV will seek to bring Libyan production back to pre-crisis level and beyond," it said in its 2012 outlook.
Production in Libya - which made up a tenth of OMV output in 2010 - stood at half of pre-war levels at the end of December.
"We increased production and are now at a level of above 70 percent of the pre-crisis level," a spokesman said on Wednesday.
Its shares rose 2.1 percent in early trade to 28.165 euros.
Chief Executive Gerhard Roiss had told reporters in December that Libyan output was running at around 17,000 barrels per day, reiterating his view that it would take 12-15 months from the end of hostilities to restore full production.
Libyan production fell sharply when the revolt against Muammar Gaddafi's rule broke out a year ago, forcing OMV to withdraw staff over security concerns.
OMV has a long-term stake there with 12 exploration and production licences and petroleum contracts running up to 2032.
It expects to raise overall output volumes this year at its exploration and production division, which OMV said was also screening acquisition targets in the Middle East, Caspian and Africa regions and preparing to enter new countries.
Operating earnings excluding one-offs and unrealised gains from valuing inventories jumped 29 percent in the fourth quarter to 730 million euros ($968.3 million), clearly beating even the most optimistic estimate in a Reuters poll of analysts.
It said higher oil prices helped offset missing volumes from Libya and Yemen, where unrest has also disrupted production.
"In Yemen, the security situation remains uncertain. Re-launching production will take longer and will only be approached if this can be achieved safely and sustainably," it said on Wednesday. Yemen had provided 6,600 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) in 2010.
It forecast the average Brent oil price would remain above $100 per barrel this year, while the Brent-Urals spread was set to remain tight.
OMV proposed raising its dividend by 10 percent to 1.10 euros per share, while the market had expected no change.
It had already reported fourth-quarter production edged up to 289,000 boed from 283,000 in the previous quarter.
OMV shares have traded at nearly 7 times 12-month forward earnings per share, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine, which weights analyst estimates by previous accuracy.
That puts it at a discount to peers like Repsol on 10 times and Eni or Total at almost eight times.
Source: Reuters
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