UPDATE 3-Oil group OMV has no official contact in Libya
* OMV relies on bits of unofficial information from Libya
* Reiterates to decide on long-term financing in H1
* Shares down 1.3 percent by 1040 GMT
(Adds details on Yemen, Saudi oil, long-term strategy)
By Sylvia Westall and Christian Gutlederer
VIENNA, March 31 (Reuters) - Austrian energy group OMV (OMVV.VI) is gleaning only haphazard information on its operations in Libya as official contact with the oil-rich state has disintegrated, its incoming chief executive said.
Describing the outlook for oil production in the turmoil-hit country as unclear, Gerhard Roiss said on Thursday he hoped the situation would improve in the months ahead as he takes the helm at Austria's largest industrial company.
The centrepiece of OMV's growing North Africa business, Libya provided the company with 33,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) in 2010, a tenth of the group's total output.
"We have no precise information at all, we have no official contact at all, we are dependent on haphazard contact," Roiss told a news conference when asked if OMV was talking to the Libyan state oil company or rebels.
Roiss, 58, becomes CEO on Friday after two decades at OMV where he focused on refining and marketing. OMV aims to expand exploration and production, but its strategy for North Africa and the Middle East is up in the air due to the unrest.
Roiss suggested OMV was not readying an exit.
"We believe the situation should improve in the coming months. The reserves are under the ground, our Libyan employees are staying at home, they are not at the field. I cannot give any more precise information at the moment," he said.
SAUDI OIL SUBSTITUTE
Last month OMV was forced to shut down production at its Libyan Shateira field in the east due to security concerns. Small amounts are being produced at the western Sharara field, in which OMV holds a stake, Roiss said.
OMV said on Tuesday it was buying more crude oil from Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan and the Black Sea region to make up for a production loss in Libya. [ID:nLDE72S1SY]
It declined to give details on the amounts but said it could completely compensate for its Libyan production losses this way.
"We have the ability to process not only Saudi oil but also Kazakh oil, Nigerian oil," Roiss said. The work can be done at OMV's Schwechat refinery outside Vienna, he said.
In Yemen, where OMV has been unable to transport oil through a damaged pipeline for two weeks, crude is still being produced, Roiss said. He added the pipeline could be fixed soon.
Roiss said refinancing was of particular importance for the company after acquisitions in Turkey and Tunisia, reiterating that a decision on this should be made in the first half.
"Capital and cost discipline and a strong investment-grade credit rating are the top priorities."
Gas will also be a priority as the company wishes to move away from oil in the long term. "The effects of recent events in Japan among other factors will see natural gas grow in importance as a source of energy," the company said. (Additional reporting by Michael Shields, editing by Jane Baird)
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