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* Refining margin up 27 pct q/q to $5.28 per barrel
* Total production up 1 percent to 309,000 boe/d
* Yemen recovers; Austria, Tunisia improve
VIENNA, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Austrian energy group OMV’s refining margin rose 27 percent in the third quarter, it said on Friday, as crude oil prices eased from the previous quarter’s highs and gasoline and middle distillate spreads rose.
OMV, whose activities range from exploration to filling stations, said total production edged up 1 percent to 309,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, mainly due to a recovery in Yemen as well as higher production in Austria and Tunisia.
“Sales volumes, however, were down due to lower liftings, mainly in Tunisia and Libya. There was no lifting in Yemen in the third quarter,” OMV said in a statement.
Yemen’s oil and gas pipelines have been repeatedly attacked by Islamic militants or disgruntled tribesmen since anti-government protests created a power vacuum in 2011.
OMV said in August that production in Yemen had restarted at a low level in July following the repair of an export pipeline but the security situation remained uncertain.
Production in Libya - which accounted for 10 percent of OMV output before the civil war last year that toppled Muammar Gaddafi - was steady, Chief Executive Gerhard Roiss said on Thursday.
The company added on Friday that its third-quarter results, due to be reported on Nov. 7, would contain net special charges of 38 million euros ($50 million), mainly related to a legal case in Kazakhstan.
OMV’s refining margin rose to $5.28 per barrel in the third quarter on total refining output that rose 6 percent to 4.87 million tonnes.
OMV had said after the second quarter that refining margins had spiked and were expected to deteriorate as crude oil prices recovered, while petrochemical and marketing margins would suffer from the subdued economic environment.
Supply concerns have been pushing oil prices up but have diminished in the past weeks with the imminent restart of Britain’s largest oilfield.
Brent crude held above $112 a barrel on Friday but remained on track for its third weekly fall in five weeks.
$1 = 0.7638 euros Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Michael Shields