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Crude sales down, earnings up

January 5, 2000, 07:30 CET

Crude oil sales by Statoil averaged 1.8 million barrels per day in 1999, a decline of 100,000 barrels from the year before. But higher prices boosted revenues.

An average of 1.2 million daily barrels was sold on behalf of the state's direct financial interest (SDFI) last year, while sales of Statoil's entitlement crude ran at 450,000 barrels per day.

The remaining sales volume was purchased from other partners, reports Gunnar Sletvold, vice president for crude sales in the oil trading and supply (O&S) unit.

Oil prices averaged about USD 18 per barrel for 1999, an increase of USD 3 on Statoil's forecast at the beginning of the year and USD 5 higher than the average for 1998.

This improvement boosted Statoil's daily revenues from its entitlement oil by roughly NOK 11 million above expectations.

According to Tor Kartevold, market analysis manager for O&S, the higher 1999 price reflects a sharper-than-expected cut of 1.7 million barrels in daily output from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Norway and Mexico have also contributed with production reductions of roughly 300,000 barrels per day.

Opec 's discipline in maintaining its output ceiling has been unusually good, Mr Kartevold adds. Its members have succeeded in meeting their quotas almost exactly. These total roughly 23 million barrels per day in addition to Iraqi production.

And major US financial institutions have contributed to high oil prices through their dispositions in the paper market for oil.

Crude prices stood around USD 25 per barrel in the final days of 1999, and reached a record of more than USD 26 per barrel on certain December days.

This price increase has largely been driven by sharp reductions in US and European oil stocks and market expectations of further cuts in these holdings.