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Gas field sold

January 6, 1999, 00:00 CET

A 50 per cent interest in the Viking gas field in the Gulf of Mexico has been sold by Statoil to help restructure its international operations.

In addition to this holding, the sales deal signed on 30 December gives US company ATP all Statoil's interests in exploration and production licences outside the deepwater areas of the US Gulf.

"This disposal forms part of the concentration process now under way in our international operations," says president Egil Endresen at Statoil Exploration US in Houston.

Viking lies 320 kilometres from the latter city, and Statoil became operator after acquiring Blazer Energy Corp in 1997.

Deepwater blocks represent the group's priority in the US Gulf, Mr Endresen notes. He says that all its interests in such acreage are being retained. Statoil is involved in 92 such blocks, located in 600-3,000 metres of water.

Together with Burlington and Oryx, Statoil has chartered the Deepwater Millennium drill ship under construction in Korea. This vessel is due to reach the Gulf of Mexico in August.

Statoil Exploration US has reduced its staffing slightly as a result of the sale, and currently has 54 employees.