VIENNA, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Austrian energy group OMV has agreed to establish a joint venture with Sapura Energy Bhd, paying $540 million for a 50 percent stake in the Malaysian firm’s exploration assets.
Sapura Energy will transfer $350 million of its debt into the new firm, called SEB Upstream Sdn Bhd (SUP), of which OMV has agreed to refinance half, an OMV spokesman said.
OMV also agreed to pay up to an extra $85 million, dependent on whether an exploration in Mexico is successful and on the future oil price, the spokesman said, adding that there was no time frame for the payment of the sum.
The Austrian group, which is betting on increasing demand for fossil fuels, wants to grow in low-cost countries outside Europe and has declared Southeast Asia a new core market.
“Sapura has a very good portfolio of oil and gas fields and will sextuple production over the next six years,” OMV exploration chief Johann Pleininger told journalists a few weeks ago.
Malaysia’s largest oil and gas services company has posted losses for three consecutive quarters, but its upstream business has been profitable in that time. ($1 = 0.8550 euros) (Reporting by Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich, writing by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)