Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Austrian energy company OMV said Wednesday it returned to profit in the fourth quarter and expected the price of crude oil to average $60 per barrel this year.
The company said its net profit for the fourth quarter was $383 million, compared with a loss of $466 million year-on-year. Total sales revenue, meanwhile, was $6 billion, compared with $6.6 billion a year earlier.
For this year, the company said it expected to produce around 420,000 barrels of oil per day on average, compared with the 377,000 bpd produced in the fourth quarter. Production from its assets in Russia should account for about a quarter of the total output this year.
The company is an active player in the Libyan energy sector and said it expected production, while not providing actual figures, would be about the same as last year. Despite fits and starts because of security issues, Libya is inching closer to sustaining 1 million bpd, a level similar to pre-war levels.
"For the year 2018, OMV expects the average Brent oil price to be at $60 per barrel," the company added.
The price for Brent crude oil topped $70 per barrel in January on geopolitical concerns and optimism over an effort by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to balance an oversupplied market with coordinated production cuts. Brent was closer to $65 per barrel early Wednesday as U.S. crude oil production gains and spillover from an equities market downturn create headwinds.
Total spending on exploration and production for OMV, meanwhile, should be around $1.6 billion.
For natural gas, the company said its production levels should be higher than last year, though sales would be more or less unchanged from last year.
"OMV will continue to finance the Nord Stream 2 pipeline subject to the progress of the project financing from the capital markets," the company stated.
Russian energy company Gazprom plans to double the twin Nord Stream network through the Baltic Sea to Germany, though the pipeline has raised more concerns about Russia's role in the European energy sector. The United States sees its shale reserves in the form of liquefied natural gas as a viable alternative, though German Chancellor Angela Merkel has sided with the Russian option recently.