Austrian energy company OMV sees the Nord Stream pipeline, which carries Russian gas to Europe, as a critical strategic project. File photo by Robert Jaeger/EPA
March 13 (UPI) -- The European shift away from coal means more market demand for natural gas -- and the Nord Stream pipeline can help bridge the gap, Austria's OMV said Tuesday.
The European market is fed primarily by Russian and Norwegian supplies, respectively. Russian energy company Gazprom plans to double the twin Nord Stream network through the Baltic Sea to Germany and OMV said Tuesday the network is "of critical strategic importance ... as it will secure consistent, long-term gas supplies to Europe."
In February, the company said production from its assets in Russia should account for about a quarter of the total output this year. 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. In a statement on future trajectory, OMV said it wanted to establish itself as a premier market player in northwest and southeast Europe. For Germany alone, the company said it could secure a 10 percent market share by 2025.
"The move away from coal will mean an increase in demand for natural gas -- the more environmentally sound option -- on the European market," the company explained.
OMV's net profit for the fourth quarter was $383 million, compared with a loss of $466 million year-over-year. Total sales revenue, meanwhile, was $6 billion, compared with $6.6 billion a year earlier.
Global energy demand is expected to increase by about 16 percent by 2030 and, even as the world's economy shifts toward renewable energy resources, oil and gas will still account for more than half of the demand. For natural gas, the global appetite swells 23 percent by 2030, beating the expected demand for crude oil.
"OMV will make the most of its good starting position in this favorable market environment and forge ahead with its integrated growth," OMV CEO Rainer Seele said in a statement.
Looking for options because it has few resources of its own, European leaders have said liquefied natural gas sourced from shale basins in the United States could be a source of diversity.
Johann Pleininger, the deputy chairman and member of the executive board responsible for exploration and production, told UPI in late 2017 that, when it comes to the European energy sector, OMV was an energy company first.
"We deal in business not geopolitics," he said.