Statoil lowers production outlook for 2013

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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‘Call me Equinor’: Statoil changes name

Norway's largest oil company Statoil officially changed its name to Equinor on Wednesday as it forges ahead with its drive into renewable energy.

'Call me Equinor': Statoil changes name
CEO Eldar Sætre presents the name change in Stavanger. Photo: Carina Johansen / NTB Scanpix

Proposed in March and adopted on Tuesday at the shareholders' general meeting, the name change allows the company to take a step back — at least in name — from the Norwegian state, which owns 67 percent of its shares, and from oil. 

Equinor is meant to combine the idea of equity and equilibrium (“equi”) and geographical origin (“nor”) for Norway.

Founded in 1972 to operate Norway's large oil fields, the company — which is listed on both the Oslo and New York stock exchanges — is now active in renewable energies, including wind farms off the UK coast.

The group has earmarked 15-20 percent of its investments to “new energy solutions” by 2030.

But this shift has been cold shouldered by environmentalists concerned about global warming as they accuse the company of “green washing”.

“Statoil name change to attract young talent will not be sufficient as long as Equinor is exploring in vulnerable areas, such as the Arctic or the Great Australian Bight,” tweeted Truls Gulowsen, leader for Greenpeace in Norway.

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