Seeking partner in USA

April 15, 1999, 10:00 CEST

Half of the Statoil Energy subsidiary in the USA is being offered by the group to potential external investors.

"We've created a basis for a continued presence in the world's most dynamic energy market," says senior vice president Johan Nic Vold, who recently became chairman of Statoil Energy.

Just over USD 700 million has so far been invested in this subsidiary by Statoil, which wants to continue expanding and developing the company.

Mr Vold believes this can best be assured in cooperation with a partner in the same market.

The aim is to find an external investor within six months. A newly-established team at Statoil Energy's offices in Alexandria, Virginia, will define criteria for selecting a partner. An investment bank is then due to help with the search.

Statoil Energy produces gas and generates electricity, with the north-eastern US coast as its principal market.

Its gas reserves in Pennsylvania's Appalachian basin total some 32 billion cubic metres, equivalent to Statoil's share of the Snøhvit field on the Tromsø Patch off northern Norway.

The company promotes itself as a supplier of total energy solutions, and the US electricity market offers a big growth potential.

When Statoil bought into the former Eastern Group in Alexandria in 1994, the aim was to make money and gain experience in the world's second largest gas market. The Blazer Energy company has since been incorporated into the business.

Statoil Energy ranks among the 10 largest US electricity sellers and the 20 biggest for gas sales. It had some 600 employees and revenues of NOK 13 billion last year.

The group has been successful with earlier partnerships, including the creation of Borealis to take over its petrochemical operations. Statoil owns 50 per cent of this group, which ranks as Europe's second-largest petrochemical company.

Statoil also demerged its shipping operations into Navion and sold an interest in this company, and is due to form a partnership with ICA to operate its Scandinavian service stations.