Austrian energy company OMV moving closer to Russia

OMV last month outlined a new strategy that focuses less on quantitative growth.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   April 1, 2016 at 8:38 AM
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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, April 1 (UPI) -- Austrian energy company OMV said Friday it was building stronger ties with its Russian partners, noting markets were conducive to tight cooperation.

OMV and Russian gas company Gazprom signed agreements in St. Petersburg aimed at strengthening the strategic cooperation between both companies. Included in the terms of the deal are assets swaps and the delivery of oil products from Gazprom's portfolio.

Rainer Seele, the chief executive at OMV said that, with nearly a half-century of working together, documents signed in St. Petersburg are a milestone in bilateral ties.

"After all, with an environment which is becoming ever more fractured, this is just the time to come closer together," he said in a statement.

OMV last month outlined a new corporate strategy it said put profitability ahead of quantitative growth. The company is among those facing pressure from a weak energy market. Its most recent corporate filing highlighted an operating loss of around $2.1 billion last year, against profits of around $1 billion for 2014.

Short term, OMV said the main development regions are Iran, Russia and the United Arab Emirates. The company shares pipeline interests with Russian natural gas company Gazprom. The swap with Gazprom may include assets in the North and Norwegian seas.

Austrian President Heinz Fischer visits Moscow next week to meet with Russian officials. In announcing the visit, the Kremlin said Friday both sides would discuss a wide range of issues related to trade and the broader economy.

"With the scope and extent of our cooperation growing, we are consistently moving toward our ambitious goals -- boost Russian gas and oil supply to Europe and develop our companies' research and development potential," Gazprom's Miller added.

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