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Statoil lowers production outlook for 2013

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11:31 CEST+02:00
Norwegian oil group Statoil on Friday lowered its 2013 outlook for oil and gas production as it reported unexpectedly strong net profit in the third quarter.

The company said its production next year would be lower than this year's expected total of about two million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d). Until now Statoil had forecast that production would be stable.

The decline was attributed to the sale announced on Monday of assets in the North Sea to German company Wintershall, and to the drop in natural gas prices in the United States which is expected to slow down US shale gas activities, Statoil said in a statement.

In the third quarter, Statoil's output rose by 3 percent, to 1.8 million boe/d, boosted primarily by rising gas sales and a ramp-up of production on various fields.

This, and favourable tax elements, led to a 38.2-percent rise in net profit to 14.4 billion kroner ($2.5 billion), much stronger than the 12 billion forecast by analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires.

Operating profit came in lower than expected, however, at 40.88 billion kroner, though it was up 4.1 percent from the same period a year ago, while sales came in flat at 166.68 billion.

Statoil, which is 67-percent owned by the Norwegian state, maintained its outlook for an average production growth of between two and three percent annually for the period 2012-2016, and kept its target of at least 2.5 million boe/d for 2020.

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