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Acquiring Hydro stake in Snøhvit 

January 22, 2004, 09:00 CET

Norsk Hydro’s 10 per cent interest in Snøhvit is being acquired by operator Statoil, which will thereby raise its holding in the Barents Sea gas field to 33.53 per cent.

“This acquisition will strengthen our gas production and our position in a steadily expanding market for liquefied natural gas in the long term,” says Henrik Carlsen.

He is executive vice president for Statoil’s Exploration & Production Norway business area.

The transaction increases long-term production and reserves for the group and enhances its position in the Barents Sea, Mr Carlsen adds.

“Snøhvit will represent the first step in an environmentally acceptable and long-term development of an area where further volumes of oil and gas are likely to be proven.”

The transaction with Hydro covers production licences 064, 077, 078, 097, 099, 100 and 110.

At the same time, Statoil is selling two per cent of its interest in the Kristin field to Hydro. This transaction relates to PLs 199 and 134B in the Norwegian Sea.

Statoil is satisfied with the financial terms in the agreement with Hydro, which will be signed on Friday, 23 January.

These transactions are subject to approval by the Norwegian authorities. The transfers will be made with financial effect from 1 January 2004.

Discovered in 1984, Snøhvit lies 130 kilometres north-west of the north Norwegian port of Hammerfest and is being developed with a subsea solution.

Gas from the field will be piped to a processing plant at Melkøya outside Hammerfest for liquefaction before being shipped to market as LNG. Plans call for production to start in 2006.

Statoil is operator for Kristin, a gas and condensate field in the Halten Bank West area which is due to come on stream next year.

Providing the authorities also approve Statoil’s acquisition of Svenska Petroleum’s Snøhvit interest, announced on 16 January, licensees in the field will be Statoil 33.53 per cent, Petoro 30 per cent, Total 18.4 per cent, Gaz de France 12 per cent, Amerada Hess 3.26 per cent and RWE Dea 2.81 per cent.

Licensees in PL 199 after the sale to Hydro will be Statoil 44 per cent, Petoro 27 per cent, Norsk Hydro 14 per cent and ExxonMobil 15 per cent.

Similarly, licensees in PL 134B will be Statoil 46 per cent, Norsk Hydro 14 per cent, Total 10 per cent and Norsk Agip 30 per cent.

Further information from:

Public affairs:

Kristofer Hetland: +47 51 99 47 00 (office), +47 90 50 19 37 (mobile), e-mail: khet@statoil.com

Investor relations:

Mari Thjømøe + 47 90 77 78 24 (mobile) + 47 51 99 77 90 (office)

Thore Kristiansen + 47 91 66 46 59 (mobile) +1 20 39 78 69 50 (office)