VIENNA, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Austrian oil and gas group OMV said on Wednesday its fourth-quarter operating profit more than halved as production and sales in Libya dropped to almost nothing due to repeated disruption from oil-field protests and port blockades.
Production is now running at about 70 percent of pre-civil war levels, OMV said, and reaffirmed its 2014 group production target range of 320,000 to 340,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d).
Libya accounted for about 10 percent of OMV's production before the 2011 uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi.
OMV said it lost one-third of its production in Libya last year, it produced almost nothing there in the fourth quarter and the security situation remained very hard to predict.
Shares in OMV fell 3 percent to 32.74 euros by 1337 GMT, lagging a weaker European oil and gas index.
Profits were also hit by refining margins close to record lows due to sluggish economic recovery and persistent overcapacity on European markets, and gas prices squeezed by regulatory reforms.
Quarterly operating profit - earnings before interest and tax adjusted for special items and inventory holding gains or losses (clean CCS EBIT) - fell 54 percent to 444 million euros ($611 million).
According to Thomson Reuters data, analysts had expected 461 million euros on average.
At its Exploration and Production (E&P) unit, operating profit - which accounts for more than half of OMV's total - fell 63 percent to 257 million euros, mainly due to lower sales from Libya and a New Zealand field shutting for refurbishment.
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