Double-barrel profit hike for Norway’s Statoil

The Norwegian oil group Statoil said on Wednesday that its net profit doubled in 2011 to 78.8 billion kroner ($14.3 billion) on higher prices and sustained output.

Double-barrel profit hike for Norway's Statoil
Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/Scanpix (File)

In the last three months of the year, the group's profit leapt to 25.5 billion kroner from 9.5 billion in the same period a year earlier, largely owing to capital gains from the sale of a stake in the Gassled pipeline network.

Statoil, which is the biggest northern European company by market capitalisation, said its sales had climbed by 22.5 percent last year to 645.6 billion kroner.

It was also able to present a reserve replacement ratio of 1.17 which means it had discovered more energy sources than it had consumed and was in a better position for the future.

In particular, Statoil found a giant oil reserve in the North Sea last year that might become the third-biggest ever discovered on Norwegian territory.

Hyrdocarbon production fell in 2011 to 1.85 million bpd oil equivalent from 1.89 million bpd in 2010, the company reported.

Statoil confirmed its goal to reach hydrocarbon production of 2.5 million bpd oil equivalent by 2020.

In morning trading, Statoil shares rose 2.53 percent on an Oslo stock exchange up by 0.85 percent.

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NGOs take Norway to European Court over Arctic oil exploration

Two NGOs and six young climate activists have decided to take Norway to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to demand the cancellation of oil permits in the Arctic, Greenpeace announced on Tuesday.

NGOs take Norway to European Court over Arctic oil exploration
Northern Norway. Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash.

It’s the latest turn in a legal tussle between environmental organisations Greenpeace and Young Friends of the Earth Norway on one side and the Norwegian state on the other.

The organisations are demanding the government cancel 10 oil exploration licenses in the Barents Sea awarded in 2016, arguing it was unconstitutional.

Referring to the Paris Agreement, which seeks to limit global warming to less than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the organisations claim that the oil licenses violated article 112 of Norway’s constitution, guaranteeing everyone the right to a healthy environment.”

The six activists, alongside Greenpeace Nordic and Young Friends of the Earth Norway, hope that the European Court of Human Rights will hear their case and find that Norway’s oil expansion is in breach of human rights,” Greenpeace said in a statement.

In December, Norway’s Supreme Court rejected the claim brought by the organisations, their third successive legal defeat.

READ MORE: Norway sees oil in its future despite IEA’s warnings 

While most of the judges on the court agreed that article 112 could be invoked if the state failed to meet its climate and environmental obligations– they did not think it was applicable in this case.

The court also held that the granting of oil permits was not contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights, in part because they did not represent “a real and immediate risk” to life and physical integrity.

“The young activists and the environmental organisations argue that this judgment was flawed, as it discounted the significance of their environmental constitutional rights and did not take into account an accurate assessment of the consequences of climate change for the coming generations,” Greenpeace said.

On Friday, the Norwegian government unveiled a white paper on the country’s energy future, which still includes oil exploration despite a warning from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The IEA recently warned that all future fossil fuel projects must be scrapped if the world is to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The Norwegian case is an example of a global trend in which climate activists are increasingly turning to courts to pursue their agenda.