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Austria's OMV eyes downstream recovery, oil output boost in Q3

Highlights

Indicative margin doubles between Q2 and Q3

Upstream output beating 2020 level so far this year

OPEC+ easing likely boosting oil volumes

Austria's OMV saw its indicative refining margins double and raised its refinery utilization by six percentage points to 91% in the third quarter, as upstream production volumes weakened compared with the second quarter, it said Oct. 8.

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In a trading statement, the Central European company put its European refining margin indicator for the quarter at $4.43/b compared with $2.21/b in the second quarter and just 87 cents/b in the third quarter of 2020. Its sales of fuel and other oil products were up 16% on the quarter at 4.66 million mt.

The company's upstream production, of both liquids and gas, fell back slightly compared with the second quarter, to 198,000 b/d of oil equivalent and 272,000 boe/d respectively. Its gas production, a significant portion derived from Russia, was also down 3% on the year, however, its oil output was up 20% compared with a year earlier.

OMV's overall hydrocarbon production rose by 6% on the year, and over the first three quarters of 2021 has outstripped last year's full-year level of 463,000 boe/d. Its oil output has been boosted by significant acquisitions in the UAE in recent years, although volumes from there have been crimped by OPEC+ restrictions.

Mobility recovery

The jump in refining margins reflect a strong recovery in European mobility and stands out from more incremental improvements reported by European majors BP and Shell.

Shell on Oct. 7 put its third-quarter global refining margin indicator at $5.7/b, up from $4.17/b in the second quarter. BP's global refining marker margin in the third quarter to Sept. 29 was a hefty $15.2/b, up from $13.7/b for the second quarter, however, a breakdown of the indicator shows US Midwest margins roughly double those in Europe.

Meanwhile Hungary's Mol, a significant Central European rival, has reported a $1/b improvement in its group refinery margin between the second and third quarters, to $5.4/b, on its website.