VIENNA, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Surprisingly strong refining and marketing results helped take the sting out of a steeper-than-expected drop in second-quarter underlying profit at Austrian oil and gas group OMV on Tuesday.
OMV said its results were hurt by lower sales volumes and crude prices, a weak dollar and write-offs, mainly in the exploration and production areas on which it is focusing.
OMV, which like its peers has been hit by declining demand in Europe, said underlying operating profit (clean CCS EBIT) fell 15 percent to 733 million euros ($974 million) and underlying net income fell 29 percent to 321 million euros.
Average forecasts in a Reuters poll were 743 million euros and 336 million euros respectively.
OMV said lower sales volumes in Libya, Britain and New Zealand hurt its profits, as had exploration expenses that rose 72 percent to 98 million euros mainly due to write-offs in Tunisia and Britain and increased seismic activities in Norway.
Its upstream exploration and production business, which it is expanding, reported disappointing results, as did its gas and power segment, but its downstream refining and marketing operations reported a 24 percent rise in underlying profit.
OMV said marketing - which includes the filling stations it is selling off - had made a strong contribution thanks to better cost positions and higher margins in retail.
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