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Sole owner of pellets plant

July 14, 2003, 15:30 CEST

Norsk Trepellets, the wood pellet manufacturer located at Brumunddal north of Oslo, has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Statoil Norge.

Achieved by acquiring Norske Skogindustrier’s shares in addition to the group’s existing 50 per cent holding, this move forms part of Statoil’s commitment to renewable energy.

The pellets plant, which already ranks as the leading Norwegian producer of this renewable energy form, is to double its capacity to an annual output of 16-20,000 tonnes from 2004.

Norsk Trepellets will be investing NOK 9.5 million in the expansion, which includes a new raw materials reception facility, pellet press and silo for finished products.

These enhancements will also give the factory much greater flexibility in production terms.

“This acquisition is commercially important for Statoil,” says Geir Gransbråten, head of energy solutions in Statoil and a director of Norsk Trepellets.

“Wood pellets represent processed biological energy with a high calorific value, and are neutral in terms of carbon dioxide. We expect demand for this product to increase.”

With the capacity expansion, Norsk Trepellets can also start exporting to Denmark and Sweden.

The new investment will make the company much more flexible in terms of raw materials, which are currently based on waste products from a parquet flooring plant in Brumunddal.

So far, customers for wood pellets in Norway have largely been big central heating users such as schools, hospitals and housing cooperatives.

However, the market among private homes is expected to expand significantly over the next few years.

Norsk Trepellets was established in 2000 as a 50-50 venture between Statoil Norge and Norske Skogindustrier.