OMV NZ pays record dividend to Austrian parent

BUSINESSDESK: OMV, New Zealand’s largest producer of liquid hydrocarbons and third-biggest gas producer, posted a record profit in 2011 as it benefited from increased production and improved prices for crude oil.

Profit rose 16% to $324.9 million in calendar 2011, the local unit of Vienna-based OMV AG said in its financial statements. Sales rose 8.9% to $890 million.

OMV owns 69% of Taranaki’s Maari field, plus 26% of Pohokura gas field and 10% of the Maui gas field.

“It is fair to say Maari production accounts for a large percentage of our annual revenue,” managing director Peter Zeilinger told BusinessDesk.

The company’s local unit typically refrains from commenting on output from individual fields.

However, the Austrian parent cited increased production from New Zealand and Libya for a jump in output in the second quarter of this year and production rose each quarter last year.

Sales and profit from New Zealand are the biggest since OMV first began posting its financial statements with the Companies Office in 2001 and allowed the local unit to make a record dividend payment to the parent of $485.8 million, or $2313 a share, in 2011.

That is more than double the payment for 2010. But the record dividend isn’t likely to be repeated in the current year, Mr Zeilinger said.

“As investments increase and the oil price has weakened, we do not expect to achieve the same result as in 2011.

“The Maari field is experiencing a natural decline so production rates will be slightly lower than last year. However, our investment projects are aiming to stabilise and possibly slightly increase production from the Maari field in coming years.”

OMV has invested $1.7 billion on its New Zealand projects, including $1 billion on Maari. Mr Zeilinger said current investment amounts to “over $400 million in new wells in Maari and other adjacent exploration permits in the coming years".

OMV NZ paid $126 million in income tax last year, up about 7% from 2010. Cost of sales rose 2% to $387.5 million and included $81.9 million in royalty payments.

Taxes and royalties paid to the Crown since 2009 amount to $596 million.

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