While the production target is raised from 1.35 to 1.4 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day, the group has sharpened its goal for production costs to NOK 22 per boe. The objective for average return on capital employed in 2007 is set at 13 per cent, which represents an increase from the present level (1).
"Our new goals for both production and return are ambitious," comments chief executive Helge Lund. "I'm particularly gratified that we can raise important targets in today's market conditions, with high prices and pressure on costs.
"This reflects a stronger culture of delivering results in the group, which augurs well for our future profitability."
Raising the production target will provide an annual output growth of eight per cent up to 2007, with both the Norwegian continental shelf and foreign areas contributing to the increase.
Plans for the NCS call for production to rise from one million barrels per day to 1.1 million by 2007.
The increase in international output from 2007 to 2010 will help to support an ambition of reaching an annual production growth of two to four per cent.
Statoil's management is also introducing an improvement program for both the immediate future and the long term, which comprises a number of corporate initiatives.
Embracing the whole business, these are intended to strengthen profitability and operations as well as providing further growth for the group over the next few years.
Statoil has an ambitious investment program for 2005-07, which will be in the order of NOK 100-105 billion.
At the group's Capital Markets Day in Stavanger, it has also been announced that the Statoil board intends to propose an extraordinary dividend for 2004. This is due to market conditions and a sound financial position.
This will bring the total pay-out for the year to 45-50 per cent of profit after tax and minority interest.
"We have delivered very good results since our stock market listing in 2001, with competitive dividend payments, good performance on targets and constant improvements," says Mr Lund.
"We will be continuing along the same path, with new short-term goals set for the period until 2007. And looking further ahead, we're creating a robust foundation for long-term growth."
The presentations made by Statoil during the Capital Markets Day can be accessed on their website. They can also be seen and heard via webcasting from the group's web site from 09.00 to 17.00 Norwegian time. The webcast will also be accessible after the event.
(1) The new targets involve the following price and exchange rate assumptions in fixed 2004 values: oil price USD 22 per barrel, gas price NOK 0.9 per standard cubic meter, an NOK/USD exchange rate of 6.75, an FCC margin of USD 5 per barrel and a Borealis margin of EUR 140 per ton.
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