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Gas cylinder inauguration

April 12, 2000, 12:00 CEST

A new plant to make lightweight propane gas cylinders is being officially opened today (12 April) by Statoil and Raufoss ASA.

Located at Raufoss north of Oslo, the facility began producing cylinders in composite materials (fibre-reinforced plastic) during February and the product will be launched in Norway this week.

A cylinder holding 10 kilograms of propane weighs only 6.5 kilograms, as against 13 kilograms for the traditional steel version.

Another important consideration for users is that these containers are transparent, allowing them to see how much gas they have left.

Good design is a third advantage highlighted by Jens Økland, manager for liquefied petroleum gas in Marketing & Energy.

"Appearance means a good deal in the leisure market," he observes. "That applies particularly for gas-fired barbecues, where the cylinder almost ranks as part of the garden furniture."

Raufoss chairman Karl Glad and executive vice president Erling Øverland in Marketing & Energy are attending the opening ceremony.

Statoil has acquired a 50 per cent interest in Raufoss Composites (RAC) today through a private share placement. This company was previously a wholly-owned Raufoss subsidiary.

RAC is receiving NOK 20 million in cash as well as Statoil's 34 per cent holding in Ragasco, which develops, manufactures and markets the propane cylinders. The remaining 66 per cent of Ragasco is owned by Raufoss.

Following these transactions, future development of the entire composites business at Raufoss will be pursued jointly with Statoil.

The focus is on propane cylinders and selected projects in offshore oil and gas operations.