OMV Says Libya Production Resumed At Start Of 2014


VIENNA, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Austrian oil and gas group OMV said production in Libya resumed at the start of 2014 after disruptions due to port blockades, and levels were now in line with its guidance.

Lower production from the north African country that accounted for 10 percent of its total before the civil war there was compensated in the fourth quarter by production from its newly acquired Gullfaks asset in the Norwegian North Sea.

OMV said on Thursday fourth-quarter production was 277,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d), compared with 275,000 in the third quarter.

Current production levels in Libya were consistent with its full-year guidance of 320,000-340,000 boe/d, OMV said, and New Zealand and Pakistan were back on stream.

OMV's refining margin remained at an historically low level, at $1.16 compared with $1.17 in the third quarter.

OMV, which is shifting focus to upstream exploration and production from refining and marketing, said exploration expenses rose significantly due to write-offs in Norway and Kurdistan and the purchase of Norwegian seismic data.

Overall, it said its fourth-quarter operating result would be burdened by special charges of 190 million euros ($259 million), mainly due to an impairment charge related to its Etzel gas-storage facility in Germany, reflecting a tough European gas market.

The financial result would in addition be hit by charges of 120 million euros for the write-down of financial assets being disposed of as part of a divestment programme, OMV said.

However, OMV said its EconGas gas-trading unit was profitable in the quarter, thanks to an interim agreement on its long-term gas-supply contract with GazProm.

The company's head of gas and power had told Reuters on Wednesday that the agreement on lower prices, backdated to April 1 2013, would help EconGas back to profitability.

($1 = 0.7329 euros)

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan. Editing by Jane Merriman and Jason Neely)


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