OMV Makes Largest Austrian Oil Discovery in 25 Years

OMV has made the largest oil and natural gas discovery in Austria in 25 years. Exploration drilling in the Weinviertel region of Lower Austria identified resources of around 4.5 million barrel oil equivalent (boe). This corresponds to around 500,000 metric tons of oil and 200 million cubic meters of natural gas – about a third of the group's annual Austrian production of 14 million boe.

Helmut Langanger, OMV Management Board Member responsible for Exploration and Production said: "Thanks to our highly sophisticated 3D seismic surveys and up-to date computer aided interpretation methods, we have been very successful in locating unknown oil and natural gas accumulations both in Austria and internationally."

Over the past two years, OMV has drilled 45 wells in Austria and reached the highest level of Austrian production in 20 years. It aims to attain a global annual production rate of around 160,000 boe/d by 2008, achieved by tripling its international production, while maintaining Austrian output at a constant level.

The successful exploration well "Erdpress 1" is located about 35 kilometers northeast of Vienna in the so-called Steinberg fault zone. The Matzen field, Europe's biggest onshore oilfield, is seven kilometers away. After about six months of intensive preparatory work, producible oil and natural gas accumulations were found in 12 sandstone horizons while drilling to a depth of 2,926 meters. Taking current mean estimates, resources of about 500.000 tons of oil and 200 Million cubic meters of gas were discovered. In addition to these resources a further 3 million boe could possibly be added by appraisal drilling.

The total costs of the project, including drilling, start-up costs, above ground installations and connection to the main network, amounts to around EUR 3.5 million. Production is scheduled to begin late in 2003 and OMV expects an initial daily production rate of around 300 boe/d (40 - 50 metric tons). In order to improve recovery and for further detailed evaluation an appraisal well – "Erdpress 2" – is planned for the second half of 2003. From 2004 on, additional production wells will be drilled as part of further field development. Production is expected to continue over a period of 15 to 20 years.

Discovery wells such as Erdpress 1 make an important contribution to assuring the future of E & P activities in Austria. OMV aims to keep domestic production at a constant level in the coming years. Since there is a natural decrease in production from old fields, normally of 8% per year, it is necessary not only to pursue exploration activities to find new reservoirs, but also to place great emphasis on optimizing production technology.