OMV Said to Work With Barclays to Sell Stake in North Sea Field

OMV AG, Austria’s biggest oil and gas company, is working with Barclays Plc as it seeks to sell part of its stake in a deepwater project in the U.K.’s North Sea, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

OMV, based in Vienna, is in early discussions with potential buyers to reduce its 50 percent non-operational stake in the Rosebank oil field, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

The field, located 80 miles (130 kilometers) northwest of the Shetland Islands, may attract financial investors such as sovereign wealth funds and private-equity firms, two of the people said. OMV plans to keep part of the stake, they said.

A slump in oil prices and rising costs of production have raised concerns about the future of North Sea developments, with several large explorers seeking to sell assets in the region. The Rosebank field is a joint venture between OMV, Dong Energy A/S and Chevron Corp., which owns 40 percent of the field and is the operator.

OMV increased its stake in the Rosebank field in 2013, when it agreed to buy an additional 30 percent from Statoil as part of a deal valued at about $2.65 billion.

OMV is considering options including a stake reduction in the Rosebank field to save costs and boost cash flow, Chief Financial Officer David Davies said in January. The oil company forecast prolonged stagnation in oil markets and narrower refining margins when it announced quarterly results in May.

A spokesman for OMV declined to comment. A representative for Barclays didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.