OREANDA-NEWS. After acquiring an interest in offshore Madagascar earlier this year, OMV is taking the next step to build an exploration business in Sub-Saharan Africa. OMV signed binding agreements to farm-in with Ophir Energy, an independent exploration company listed on the London Stock Exchange.

OMV CEO Gerhard Roiss: “It is part of OMV's strategy to build up new exploration business in the region of Sub-Saharan Africa. The first step has been taken with the entry into Madagascar which is now followed by a new exploration venture in Gabon. These projects are the basis for long-term growth in the region.”

The transaction covers a significant interest in a portfolio of high-potential exploration acreage offshore Gabon, a country which has been a significant West African oil producer since the 1960s. Jaap Huijskes, OMV Executive Board member responsible for Exploration and Production: “OMV will gain in a first step an interest in more than 12,000 km2 exploration acreage in 4 blocks and participate in 3 wells to be drilled in the course of 2014.” The wells are targeting substantial exploration prospects including subsalt targets. In addition, a comprehensive 3D seismic campaign is planned.

The transaction is subject to the approval of the Government of Gabon and the joint venture partners.

Details on the agreements with Ophir Energy and planned activites for 2014:

Exploration block - OMV interest - planned activities

Mbeli - 10% - 1 well, 3D seismic

Ntsina - 10% - 1 well, 3D seismic

Gnondo - 30% - 1 well, 3D seismic

Manga - 30 % - 3D seismic