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Statoil Increases Oil Production for First Time in Five Quarters

27 Oct 2011

Statoil ASA, Norway’s largest oil and natural gas company, said production rose for the first time in five quarters as maintenance finished at North Sea fields and a project started in Angola.

Output climbed to 1.764 million barrels oil equivalent a day in the third quarter from 1.522 million barrels a year earlier. That beat the 1.745 million a day forecast in a Bloomberg survey of six analysts. Profit for the period missed analysts’ expectations as taxes rose.

The state-controlled company has reduced maintenance in Norway’s offshore fields and benefited from production abroad as it expands in Angola, the U.S. and Brazil. Statoil today announced a discovery at the Logan prospect in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, showing further exploration success after making world’s the biggest offshore find this year at the Aldous-Avaldsnes prospect in the North Sea.

“Statoil delivered strong financial results in the third quarter of 2011, reflecting operational performance in line with expectations and strong oil and gas prices throughout the period,” Helge Lund, Statoil’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Net income fell to 10.4 billion kroner ($1.9 billion), or 3.27 kroner a share, from 13.8 billion kroner, or 4.34 kroner, a year earlier, the Stavanger-based company said today. That missed the 12.4 billion-krone average estimate in a survey of 14 analysts. Operating income increased 39 percent to 39.3 billion kroner.

Statoil rose as much as 1.7 percent and traded at 143.3 kroner as of 9:12 a.m. in Oslo.

Statoil’s average oil prices rose to $107.50 a barrel from $73.80. The company’s realized gas prices rose to 1.97 kroner a standard cubic meter from 1.74 kroner a year earlier.

Seeking Reserves
Norway’s oil output has halved since 2000. Statoil operates about 80 percent of the country’s oil and gas production, and the so-called reserves replacement ratio hasn’t been above 100 percent since 2004.

“Production growth is primarily triggered by less maintenance at the Norwegian continental shelf and international fields ramping up,” Helge Andre Martinsen, a Nordea Markets analyst with a “buy” rating, said in an Oct. 18 note.

The Pazflor field in Angola started in August and Statoil’s 23 percent share will yield 47,000 barrels a day when plateau production in reached early next year.

The company this month announced the $4.4 billion acquisition of Brigham Exploration Co., expanding its stake in U.S. unconventional assets and becoming one of the top 10 holders of Bakken shale acreage. Statoil entered U.S. shale gas resources in 2008 by buying $3.38 billion in assets from Chesapeake Energy Corp. and in June bought Eagle Ford shale acreage from SM Energy Co.