OMV says it, Murphy taking stakes in Namibia offshore project

VIENNA, April 3 Thu Apr 3, 2014 5:34am EDT

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VIENNA, April 3 (Reuters) - OMV is joining U.S. firm Murphy Oil in an exploration project in Namibia, the Austrian oil and gas group said on Thursday, marking its third entry into a sub-Saharan market in six months.

OMV said it and Murphy Luderitz Oil Co. Ltd had agreed to buy a 65 percent interest in two offshore exploration blocks from Brazil's Cowan Petroleum, with OMV taking 25 percent while joint venture operator Murphy would take 40 percent.

Reuters had reported a deal was in the works on March 6.

"Offshore Namibia offers great exploration potential as it is largely unexplored, yet has all the elements of an effective hydrocarbon system," OMV's head of exploration and production, Jaap Huijskes, said in a statement.

OMV has large assets in the Black Sea and North Sea to balance. It acquired interests in Madagascar and Gabon in 2013.

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; editing by Jason Neely)

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