November 16, 2018 / 3:56 PM / 25 days ago

UPDATE 1-Most of Nord Stream 2 project to be paid for by 2019 - OMV CEO

* Next Nord Stream 2 cash call by year end -Seele

* OMV to reach production target of 600,000 bpd earlier (Adds details, background)

By Shadia Nasralla and Ron Bousso

LONDON, Nov 16 (Reuters) - The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project connecting Russia to Germany will be 70 percent paid for by next year, the chief executive of Austrian oil and gas company OMV said on Friday.

The project partners will likely make another cash transfer by the end of 2018, OMV CEO Rainer Seele told Reuters in an interview.

“We will move into 2019 with more or less 70 percent of the project financed already,” Seele said, adding that OMV has so far invested 531 million euros in the project.

Nord Stream 2 AG, which will double the existing Nord Stream 1 capacity from its current 55 billion cubic metres of gas a year, is owned by Gazprom, which is taking on half of the planned costs of 9.5 billion euros.

The rest is divided between five European energy companies - Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall, Royal Dutch Shell, France’s Engie as well as OMV.

Seele said that more than one fifth of the 1,000 kilometre pipeline which runs under the Baltic Sea to the European Union has been laid.

The United States has threatened to impose new sanctions to try to block construction of the pipeline with President Donald Trump saying it would leave EU countries even more dependent on Moscow for their energy.

OMV, which has acquired oil and gas fields in Russia, the Middle East and Asia in recent years, could reach production of 600,000 barrels per day earlier than its 2025 target, Seele said.

Pointing to the possibility of the final green light on its investment for the Neptun offshore project in Romania, Seele said the company’s output could reach 700,000 bpd by 2025.

The company produced around 400,000 bpd at the end of September.

Reporting by Ron Bousso and Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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