Leasing Korean storage
Storage capacity for eight million barrels of oil has been leased by Statoil in the South Korean cities of Ulsan and Yosu.
Running for three years, including options, the deal has been concluded with the state-owned Korean National Oil Corporation (KNOC).
This agreement reflects a steady increase in Statoil exports of Norwegian crude oil to the Far East over the past three years, rising from about 20,000 barrels per day to 80,000 in 1998. The group expects this to rise further.
"This expansion builds on the work we've put in to strengthen our position in this market," says Marcel Kramer, president of Statoil Asia Pacific in Singapore.
"The recent positive trend in the Asia-Pacific economies also plays a part, since it will lead to renewed growth in oil consumption."
With demand for sweet (low-sulphur) crude rising, North Sea oils are well-suited for meeting customer requirements.
Statoil already leases storage capacity on the Japanese island of Okinawa, and has customers for Norwegian crude in a number of of countries in East Asia.
It takes about 45 days to ship a consignment of crude from Norway to the Asia-Pacific region.
"The leasing deal in South Korea makes us more flexible and allows us to deliver oil at short notice to customers throughout the Asia-Pacific market," says Mr Kramer.