June 12, 2018 / 2:46 PM / 8 months ago

OMV seeks talks with Norway to secure Gazprom deal approval

Chief executive of Austrian energy group OMV Rainer Seele poses for a photograph during an interview with Reuters in Vienna, Austria, June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Kirsti Knolle

VIENNA (Reuters) - OMV (OMVV.VI) will seek talks with Norway about the Austrian energy group’s planned asset swap deal with Gazprom (GAZP.MM) in order to address Oslo’s concerns, the chief executive said.

In 2016, OMV agreed to swap 38.5 percent of its Norway assets for 24.98 percent of the Russian company’s Urengoy gas field. But Norway’s energy minister said he was concerned that the deal would give Gazprom access to the Norwegian continental shelf.

“We now have to hold tri-partite discussions and talk to the minister,” Chief Executive Rainer Seele told Reuters on Tuesday.

Talks would take place in mid-July at the earliest, he said in an interview. “I do not even want to think about setting up a date during the World Cup,” he said.

OMV and Gazprom were both still committed to the deal, he said when asked whether an outright purchase of Gazprom’s assets, as suggested by sources, was also an option.

Regarding OMV’s work in Iran, Seele said the Austrian group planned to conclude seismic studies but would not pursue projects further, after the United States withdrew from a nuclear pact with Tehran and said it would reimpose sanctions.

“Let’s face it, you cannot simply carry on in Iran,” he said.

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle

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