Statoil Has To Make Moves Abroad To Grow

Statoil, Norway's largest company which has went partly public with a $2.9 billion share sale last year, must show investors how it plans to increase oil and gas output as production in the North Sea declines, analysts have said.

The thirty year old company, ranked as the world's twenty ninth oil company by Petroleum Intelligence Weekly, is meeting with investors and analysts tomorrow. It will review its first twelve months as a public company and “outline the strategy beyond 2004,” Statoil said in a statement. The Statoil stock, which was sold at 69 kroner ($8.57) in the IPO, now trades at 71.5 kroner.

With Norway's oil reserves expected to start declining after 2004, Statoil needs access to new territories. It is looking to countries such as Iran, Brazil, Angola and Mexico to boost revenue and cut production costs to narrow the gap to rivals such as Eni and BP, the world's fifteenth and seventh oil companies, respectively, by production.

”They must get off the Norwegian continental shelf and go international,” said Knut Erik Lovstad, an analyst at CAI Cheuvreux Nordic in London. It will “take time to get a strong position abroad. They may have to take structural measures to speed it up,” he added.

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