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OMV Exits Russian Oil Exploration, Sells Licenses to Partner

OMV AG, central Europe’s biggest oil company, exited Russian exploration, selling stakes in oilfield licenses to its minority partner, Mineral & Bio Fuels Ltd.

OMV sold its almost 75 percent stake in Ring Oil Holding & Trading Ltd., which has 10 licenses in the Saratov and Komi regions, and CorSarNeft, the operator, to Mineral & Bio Fuels, based on Malta, CorSarNeft General Director Leonid Shnaiderman said today in an interview. He didn’t disclose the price.

“We plan to develop the fields on our own,” Shnaiderman said. “We are also open to finding a partner for them.”

OMV began exploring in Russia after its OMV Petrom SA unit bought into Ring Oil in 2006. The Lugovaya-1 exploration well in the southern Saratov region showed test flows of 2,500 barrels a day of light sweet oil in one zone and two additional gas bearing formations, Petrom said in August 2009.

OMV said in August it has a potential buyer for the Russian assets, after saying in May it plans to switch focus to the Caspian region and the Middle East.

Ring Oil has 40 million barrels of recoverable oil and gas reserves under Russia’s C1 and C2 classifications, Igor Shevchenko, CorSarNeft’s technical director, said today by e-mail. It has 970 million barrels of oil and gas reserves under the C3 classification, he said.

OMV doesn’t own other assets in Russia, spokeswoman Michaela Huber said from Vienna. She didn’t immediately comment on the sale. Ramona Zanfirescu, a Petrom spokeswoman, also didn’t immediately comment.

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