Consortium including Aker, Trafigura offers to buy OMV's E&P unit -report

VIENNA, Oct 18 (Reuters) - A consortium including Norwegian energy group Aker has made an unsolicited offer to buy most of Austrian oil and gas firm OMV's exploration and production business, according to newspaper report on Tuesday which an industry source confirmed to Reuters.

The consortium, which comprises Aker ASA (AKER.OL), the parent company of Norway's second-biggest gas producer Aker BP (AKRBP.OL) as well as global commodities trader Trafigura and private-equity firm Bluewater, has expressed an interest in buying 51% of the E&P division, Austrian newspaper Kurier said.

Trafigura declined to comment. Bluewater did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

An industry source confirmed the consortium's expression of interest but identified Aker BP as the member rather than Aker ASA. The newspaper and the source both said, however, that the consortium had said it was able to guarantee Austria's security of supply of gas, a top priority for the Austrian government, which owns 31.5% of OMV (OMVV.VI).

Kurier and the source said it was not clear how the consortium planned to ship that gas to Austria, a land-locked country scrambling to end its heavy reliance on Russian natural gas. Until the war in Ukraine, Austria obtained 80% of its gas from Russia.

OMV confirmed that it had received a letter expressing interest in its E&P business.

"Since OMV is in the process of analyzing its portfolio as part of its strategy implementation, we replied that we cannot seriously discuss it at the moment," an OMV spokesperson said.

Kurier reported that Sverre Skogen, the chairman and chief executive of Norway's Mime Petroleum, was the "head of the consortium", adding that it had seen what it described as the 3-1/2 page letter dated July 25.

The offer also did not include OMV's Romanian unit Petrom or E&P business in Russia, Kurier reported.

The consortium estimated the value of the 51% stake in the E&P division at $5.5 billion to $7 billion, Kurier added.

Reporting by Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich; additional reporting by Julia Payne and Shadia Nasralla in London; Writing by Francois Murphy; editing by David Evans

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