OMV Farms into Ophir's Gabon Blocks

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Austria's OMV reported Wednesday that it is taking its next step in building a business in Sub-Saharan Africa after signing agreements to take part in deepwater exploration projects offshore Gabon.

The farm-in deal, with Ophir Energy, sees OMV take ten-percent stakes in the Mbeli and Ntsina exploration blocks as well as 30-percent of the Gnondo and Manga blocks. In 2014, OMV and Ophir plan 3D seismic data acquisition programs on all four blocks, with one well drilled on each of the Mbeli, Ntsina and Gnondo blocks.

OMV CEO Gerhard Roiss commented in a company statement:

"It is part of OMV’s strategy to build up new exploration business in the region of Sub-Saharan Africa. The first step has been taken with the entry into Madagascar which is now followed by a new exploration venture in Gabon. These projects are the basis for long-term growth in the region."

In a separate statement, Ophir CEO Nick Cooper commented:

"We are delighted to have agreed this deal with OMV across our acreage position in Gabon. It brings a well-financed, experienced and motivated partner into our blocks and is in-line with our strategy of mitigating exploration risk ahead of drilling. Our retained interests expose shareholders to significant upside in the event of success, especially the pre-salt play on the Mbeli and Ntsina Blocks with the Padouck Deep well due to commence in February 2014."

A former engineer, Jon is an award-winning editor who has covered the technology, engineering and energy sectors since the mid-1990s. Email Jon at jmainwaring@rigzone.com

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