Dominion Lending Centres Clearlease Reports Norway’s Statoil says Q1 profits surge 44 pct on higher oil, gas prices

Dominion Lending Centres Clearlease Reports Norway’s Statoil says Q1 profits surge 44 pct on higher oil, gas prices

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – (May 4, 2011) Clearlease Reports Statoil ASA’s first quarter profits surged 44 per cent as higher oil and gas prices made up for lower output, the Norwegian energy group said Wednesday.

The company said profits in the three months ending March 31 jumped to 16.1 billion kroner ($3.1 billion) from 11.1 billion in the same period a year ago, while revenues rose 13 per cent to 145.6 billion kroner.

The increases came even though the energy group, which is based in Stavanger, said total production fell 6 per cent in the first quarter to 1.97 billion barrels of oil equivalents.

Statoil said the production decrease was mainly caused by operational issues in Angola and on the Norwegian continental shelf. Natural declines on mature fields, suspended production in Libya and issues at the Shah Deniz field in Azerbaijan also contributed to the fall.

Planned maintenance shutdowns are also expected to have a bigger impact on the full year result than previously forecast, the group said. In total, Statoil expects the closures to lower production by 50 million barrels of oil equivalents per day in 2011 compared with 40 million previously forecast.

As a result, the company expects 2011 production to be around the same level, or slightly below, last year’s.

More than offsetting the production decline on profitability was the 33 per cent increase in average liquid fuel prices and a 20 per cent rise in natural gas prices.

Last month, Statoil announced a significant oil discovery on the Skrugard prospect in the Barents Sea and started oil production from the Peregrino offshore field in Brazil.

“Through the Skrugard discovery and the new acreage awarded Statoil in the Barents Sea, we take new steps in opening a new energy frontier in the North,” CEO Helge Lund said.

Shares in Statoil fell by 0.4 per cent to 148.00 kroner ($28.1) in afternoon trading on the Oslo Stock Exchange.

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