OMV starts production at Tunisian well after takeover

OMV AG has started operating at an oil field in Tunisia after taking over an American rival’s exploration activities in the North African country.The Austrian energy sector top dog said today (Weds) it carried out first drillings at the El Badr 5 field in Tunisia earlier this week. OMV explained it would produce 1,500 barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) per day at the site.The activities follow OMV’s acquisition of the Tunisian exploration department of the US firm Pioneer Natural Resources for 866 million US dollars (590 million Euros) last February. OMV said at that time the takeover was proof of its ambitions for a “long-term commitment” in Tunisia.The North African country’s political agenda is currently handled by a caretaker government after President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali bowed out under the pressure of the majority of its people – who took to the streets to cry out for democracy and human rights – and fled the country to Saudi Arabia in January of this year.OMV has been active in Tunisia since the 1970s.The firm is one of Austria’s strongest brands. OMV has more than 31,000 employees. It achieved a turnover of 23.32 billion Euros last year. The company runs petrol stations across Europe. New CEO Gerhard Roiss recently said the plan was to engage more intensely in the development of renewable energy technologies.The start of drillings at the El Badr 5 well in Tunisia comes days after OMV said it discovered a large gas field in Australia. The Vienna-based firm explained the amount of gas suspected in the Zola 1 exploration zone on the north-west of the country could be enough to cover Austria’s demand for up to five years.One OMV stock was worth 31.70 Euros on the Vienna Stock Exchange (WBAG) at 11am today, down from 32.32 Euros on 14 April.