MOSCOW (Reuters) - Gazprom (GAZP.MM) wants more than 25 percent of OMV’s (OMVV.VI) Norwegian North Sea holding company but is being prevented from taking a larger stake by Norway, the Russian company’s deputy told Reuters on Thursday.
Under an asset swap plan, Austrian energy company OMV is due to get a 24.9 percent stake in a part of one of Gazprom’s Siberian fields while the Russian company will in turn get a slice of OMV’s North Sea assets in Norway.
“We have decided over the OMV assets, these are production assets in the North Sea. We are now talking about when we can get an approval from the Norwegian authorities,” Gazprom Deputy Chief Executive Alexander Medvedev told the Reuters Russia Investment Summit.
“There will be a meeting with the Norwegian ministry, will see why they are limiting participation in the holding company to 25 percent. We don’t want to face such a situation. Hopefully there will be no politics,” he said. Following the slide in oil prices, OMV has been keen to move away from its more expensive North Sea production toward lower-cost output from places such as Russia.
OMV was ready to swap a minority stake in either of the holding companies for its North Sea assets - one Norwegian and one British - for around 25 percent in two areas of the Achimov formation of Gazprom’s Urengoy field in Siberia.
OMV Chief Executive Rainer Seele overturned his predecessor’s focus on the North Sea in favor of Russia when he took the helm at Austria’s biggest company last year and is banking on the deal to stabilize, and eventually boost its output.
Writing by Shadia Nasralla in Vienna; editing by David Clarke