Satisfactory Performance in Challenging Markets for Statoil


OSLO, Norway, May 7, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- Statoil (OSE:STL) (NYSE:STO) achieved a profit of NOK 10 billion before financial items, income taxes and minority interest (EBIT) for the first quarter of 2002. This compares with NOK 15.4 billion for the same period of last year. Earnings per share came to NOK 1.39 (USD 0.16) as against NOK 2.19 (USD 0.24) for the first quarter of 2001.

Earnings per share: NOK 1.39

 High gas production and good regularity on the Norwegian continental 

 Increased international production

 Lower prices and margins

Net profit for the first quarter amounted to NOK 3 billion as against NOK 4.3 billion for the same period of last year. Return on capital employed over the past 12 months, adjusted for one-off effects, came to 15.8 per cent as against 17.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2001.

"This result reflects a strong increase in natural gas output on the Norwegian continental shelf and substantial growth in our international oil production," said chief executive Olav Fjell. "Regularity on our installations has been good. The markets have been demanding, with lower prices for oil, natural gas and products. Overall, we consider our performance to be satisfactory. Our underlying operations confirm that we are on the right track in relation to our targets for 2004."

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Statoil's overall oil and gas production during the first quarter averaged 1,096,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, as against 1,005,000 barrels for the same period of last year.

This nine per cent improvement primarily reflects good regularity, a substantial increase in gas production on the NCS and rising oil output from the group's international operations.

Production cut on the NCS reduced Statoil's average daily oil output by about 24,000 barrels. Its oil production from the NCS averaged 682,000 barrels per day in the first quarter.

Statoil's equity gas production from the NCS rose from a daily average of 40.9 million cubic metres in the first quarter of 2001 to 52.4 million. This 28 per cent growth reflects a planned build up of delivery volumes under long-term gas sales contracts with buyers in continental Europe.

Average daily oil production for Statoil outside Norway rose by 40 per cent, from 56,600 barrels in the first quarter of 2001 to 79,500. The Sincor facility in Venezuela delivered its first oil cargo at the end of March, while the Girassol field off Angola reached plateau production five months ahead of schedule.

Low refining margins, product prices and shipping rates were the most important reasons behind the weakening of results for Statoil's downstream operations. Refining margins have fallen by 71 per cent since the first quarter of 2001, while methanol prices and petrochemical margins halved over the same period.

A fatal accident occurred on April 17 on Byford Dolphin while this drilling rig was working for Statoil on Esso's Sigyn field in the North Sea. The incident is being investigated to clarify its causes. Viewed overall, Statoil made progress in the safety area during the first quarter compared with the same period of last year. Both the total recordable injury frequency and the number of serious incidents declined.

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