No basis for further cooperation

February 10, 2004, 15:05 CET

Discussions on a closer strategic cooperation between Statoil and Hydro did not lead to a result and have been terminated.

During a press briefing in Stavanger today, 10 February, Statoil chair Jannik Lindbæk confirmed that exploratory talks have taken place at top management level in the two companies.

"Statoil has assessed a business collaboration with Hydro as interesting," said Mr Lindbæk. "There are interesting, business perspectives involved and this matter has also been discussed earlier. But this time it quickly became clear that there was no basis for continuing the talks."

Asked if these discussions had in any way influenced the search for a permanent chief executive for Statoil, Mr Lindbæk replied in the negative.

"The board values the work done by acting chief executive Inge K Hansen and Statoil's corporate executive committee after Olav Fjell stepped down last September," he said. "The business is being run well and in accordance with the strategic business priorities."

Mr Lindbæk added that the board has emphasised all along that it will take the time necessary to reach a proper decision as to the appointment of a permanent chief executive. Extensive work has already been carried out. The board was informed of developments today and expressed satisfaction with the progress of the process.