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Selling offshore holdings

April 10, 2000, 22:00 CEST

A number of interests in fields and other licences off Norway are being offered for sale by Statoil.

These holdings lie outside those parts of the Norwegian continental shelf defined by the group as its core areas, and have little strategic significance.

The Pandora sales project embraces interests in the Ekofisk, Brage, Grane and Jotun fields in the North Sea, and Njord in the Norwegian Sea. They involve some 25,000 barrels of daily oil production.

In addition, a number of other licence holdings are up for sale. These are PLs 044, 113, 144, 145, 148 and 191.

Although Statoil's primary aim with Pandora is to free up capital, project manager Thomas Ladsten says that swaps might be possible.

"Where this strengthens our position in core areas, we could be interested in establishing swap packages."

The group will be concentrating its financial and human resources on acreage which appears to offer the best opportunities for value creation.

These are the Halten/Nordland region of the Norwegian Sea and the Tampen (Statfjord/Gullfaks) and Troll/Sleipner areas in the North Sea.

Mr Ladsten also notes that earlier projects for selling, purchasing or swapping interests have sought to strengthen Statoil's position in these sections of the continental shelf.

Acquiring part of the former Saga Petroleum company in 1999 also provided new licence positions and operatorships in the relevant areas, and have boosted the group's daily oil output by just under 75,000 barrels.

Offer letters are currently being mailed to potential buyers. Statoil aims to sell to companies already established off Norway, but would also consider other purchasers that want to secure a stake in these waters.