Statoil to shed 2.1 billion kroner in NCS assets

Norwegian oil and gas giant Statoil announced yesterday it is to shed holdings worth 2.1 billion kroner on the Norwegian Continental Shelf as part of the group's strategy of focussing its energies on 'core areas' on its home patch. Through the sell-off, Conoco picks up Statoil's share in the Grane field, Det Norske Oljeselskap its interest in Jotun, Phillips Petroleum takes over its holding in Tommeliten, and Dansk Olie og Naturgas the group's share in the Freja licence.


Darius Snieckus
OGJ Online

LONDON�Norwegian oil and gas giant Statoil announced yesterday it is to shed holdings worth 2.1 billion kroner in four fields and two exploration licences on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) as part of the group's strategy of focussing its energies on "core areas" on its home patch. The selloff is referred to as Pandora.

Through the sell-off, Conoco Inc. picks up Statoil's share in the Grane field, Det Norske Oljeselskap AS its interest in Jotun, Phillips Petroleum Co. takes over its holding in Tommeliten�along with the operatorship of that development�and Dansk Olie og Naturgas AS (DONG) acquires the group's share in the Freja licence.

A sixth buyer, Gaz de France SA, has agreed to take over 12% of Statoil's Snøvit gas field in the Barents Sea, in keeping with Statoil's desire to bring in a strategic partner to "strengthen the marketing side of the project" through the French gas company's liquefied natural gas expertise.

Gaz de France is also acquiring Statoil's 20% holding in the latter's Njord field, making it a new player on the NCS.

The latest sales, made up of cash payments of 1.7 billion kroner and future tax allowances of 400 million kroner, brings the total "disinvestment" by the company since last year to around 15 billion kroner. The sell-off ties in with larger portfolio restructuring plans at Statoil aimed at cutting capital employed by 25% by the end of next year.

"We are selling out these holding in order to concentrate resources on our most important areas of the NCS, said Statoil Executive Vice-Pres. Henrik Carlsen at the North Sea Beyond 2000 conference in London. Carlsen said the company was "satisfied" with the sales, adding they would "improve the position of [Statoil's] partners on the NCS as well as enhancing [the company's] financial status.

"[The sales] represent an important step forward in the direction we have chosen," Carlsen added.

Statoil's restructuring plans were rolled out in 1998 with a major program of asset swapping on the UK and Norwegian shelves, and included last year's takeover, jointly with Norsk Hydro AS, of Norwegian independent Saga Petroleum AS, and the relinquishment of 18 of its licenses.

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