OMV to seek review into ex-CEO Seele's management decisions

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Logo of Austrian oil and gas group OMV is seen at a gas station in Vienna

By Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich

BERLIN (Reuters) -Austrian energy group OMV will seek a review of the decisions of former CEO Rainer Seele, whose investments in Russia and the suspended Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline were in hindsight a mistake, its supervisory board chair said on Friday.

Seele's focus on low-cost oil and gas fields in Russia from 2015 helped to make OMV one of the best cash flow generators in the sector.

"Looking back, we have to conclude that the investments made in Russia after 2015 were based on too much trust in Russia and Russia's role in the international community," chairman Mark Garrett told the annual shareholders' meeting on Friday.

The supervisory board has decided to commission an investigation into Seele's compliance with governance rules, Garrett said. It will include examining gas supply contracts with Gazprom and a sponsorship agreement with the Zenit St. Petersburg soccer club.

Rainer Seele, who led the partially state-owned OMV from mid-2015 to mid-2021, did not immediately reply to an emailed request for comment. He has so far declined to comment.

OMV has bought natural gas from Russia since 1968 and has gas delivery contracts until 2040. It was a financing partner for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.

Germany halted the project in February after Russia formally recognised two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine.

OMV's business relating to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and a Russian gas field have already required writedowns of 1 billion euros each.

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, begun on Feb. 24, which Moscow describes as a "special military operation", OMV is seeking to distance itself from Russia, and is looking at strategic options for its stake in Yuzhno-Russkoye, one of Russia's largest gas fields.

(Reporting by Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich, writing by Kirsti Knolle; editing by Rachel More and Barbara Lewis)

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting