North Sea deal wins new funds for Clyde

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The Independent Online
OMV, the Austrian state-controlled oil company, is increasing its presence in the North Sea through a joint venture with Clyde Petroleum, the UK oil independent.

OMV will take a 55 per cent stake in a Clyde subsidiary that holds interests in eight exploration blocks in offshore North Sea.

In return, OMV will fund the first pounds 15m exploration and development expenditure on these blocks for the next six years.

Clyde has an option to contribute its share of any costs above that figure.

But if it does not contribute, Clyde's share in any fourth and subsequent development from their portfolio of assets will be reduced in line with a pre-determined formula.

The deal is designed to provide Clyde with new funds to develop its existing acreage, while OMV will receive access to promising blocks in the North Sea, where it is keen to expand its involvement.

About two years ago, OMV acquired a 5 and 14.3 per cent interest in the Beryl and Dunlin fields, which already produce oil and gas.

Although OMV has tied up all its exploration funds for the North Sea for the time being, it is inviting other companies to hold talks for similar deals in 'the near future'.

Martyn David, managing director of OMV (UK), said: 'Newcomers to the North Sea find it difficult to acquire quality exploration acreage. This joint company approach will enable us to make the best possible use of the production acquisitions made in 1990.'

Clyde shares eased 0.5p to close at 32.5p yesterday.