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OMV buys RWE’s 16.7% stake in Nabucco gas pipeline

OMV buys RWE’s 16.7% stake in Nabucco gas pipeline

15.4.2013 9:21

OMV (36,3 EUR, -1,17%) has bought German utility RWE's nearly 17% stake in the Nabucco pipeline project that aims to bring Caspian gas to Europe, OMV said on Sunday. An OMV spokesman confirmed media reports about the sale but gave no financial details. RWE (30,5 EUR, 0,04%) also confirmed the stake was transferred on March 1 but gave no price or other details.

Our view:
OMV CEO Gerhard Roiss had said already in December that talks with RWE on a sale were under way. Both companies owned 16.67 % stakes in the project, thus OMV’s new stake amounts to 33.3%. The disposal is not unexpected because already in March RWE stated that it has been looking at the options for disposing of all its shares in „RWE Dea”, its exploration and production subsidiary, which in 2012 contributed €1.8bn in revenues to RWE group sales of €53.2bn. Therefore, we believe OMV most likely did not overpay for the RWE stake.

Nabucco is competing against the TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline) group. A decision on which pipeline project will get the contract of delivering Azeri gas to Europe will be decided in June. Shah Deniz field is Azerbaijan's biggest gas field and one of the largest in the world, with reserves estimated at 1.2 trillion cubic meters of gas. The Shah Deniz field has a production capacity of 8bn cubic meters a year from its first phase. It is predicted that in the second stage of field development, gas production can be brought up to 25bn cubic meters a year.

OMV and its partners have proposed a scaled-down version of the project called Nabucco West that would run from Turkey's western border to Austria. Nabucco West foresees the construction of a 1,300 km pipeline from the Bulgarian/Turkish border to Austria. Original plans were for a 4,000 km pipeline. Critics said estimated costs of more than $12bn would make it too pricey and there would not be enough gas available to fill the pipeline with non-Russian supplies.

Nabucco West's owners, in the long term, will be countries and companies with gas reserves bound for Europe, while RWE had no gas of its own in the Black Sea region. Nabucco's other four shareholders are Bulgarian group BEH, Turkish firm Botas, Hungarian company MOL (1 6260 HUF, 0,00%), and Romanian group Transgaz.

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