OSLO – Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil ASA said Friday it maintained its production guidance for 2012 but expected lower production in 2013, as it posted a higher-than-forecast net profit in the third quarter, compared with a year earlier.
"Statoil delivered solid financial results in the quarter. By ramping up new fields, we have grown production year to date by 10%, compared to the same period last year, and 8% compared to the 2011 average," said Statoil chief executive Helge Lund in a statement. "We are on track, and maintain our guidance for 2012."
The company's third-quarter net profit attributable to shareholders was 14.4 billion Norwegian kroner ($2.5 billion), up 38.2% on the year and higher than the consensus forecast of NOK12 billion.
Statoil said it expected 2013 production to be lower than in 2012, but that it was still on track for an average growth of 2% to 3% from 2012 to 2016 and production above 2.5 million barrels a day of oil equivalent in 2020.
Statoil's recent license-swap deal with Wintershall AG (WSL.YY) on the Norwegian continental shelf will lead to lower production, and the growth in Statoil's U.S. onshore gas production is expected to be adjusted down by 25,000 barrels equivalent a day due to lower gas prices, the company said.
The company's closely-watched adjusted earnings before interest and taxes were NOK40.0 billion in the quarter, down from NOK43.1 billion a year ago and missing analysts' forecast of adjusted EBIT of NOK42.53 billion.
Statoil's oil and gas production rose 3% on the year to 1.811 million barrels of oil equivalent a day on average from July to September, from 1.764 million barrels a day in the same period of 2011. The increase was mainly due to increased gas sales from the Norwegian continental shelf, the ramp-up of production on several fields, and higher production from the Gullfaks field. This was somewhat countered by higher maintenance activity and the natural decline on mature fields.
Statoil expects capital expenditures of $18 billion in 2012, the same as previously estimated. The company expects to spend $3.5 billion on exploration activity and to drill around 45 exploration wells in 2012.
It maintained its previous guidance for production to have an annual average growth rate of 3% from 2010, which equals about 2 million barrels per day in 2012.
Statoil posted third-quarter revenues of NOK165.3 billion, compared to the consensus forecast of NOK156.37 billion.
Statoil shares closed Thursday at NOK142.60, valuing the company at NOK454.7 billion, down 5.7% from six months ago.
Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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