Statoil Eyes Further Assets in Gulf Of Mexico

THE HAGUE Sep 21, 2006 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Statoil (STL.OS) is eyeing expansion of its activities in the Gulf of Mexico, a spokesman for the Norwegian energy firm said Thursday on the sidelines of an oil conference in the Hague.

"We will definitely buy more assets...and we'll expand our position in the Gulf of Mexico," Statoil's vice president of strategy international exploration and production, Ole Johan Liderson, said.

"It's a very important area for us and we want to build a significant position" there, he said.

But he declined to comment on possible acquisition targets, saying only, "We're monitoring various options in the Gulf."

The company already has a significant presence in the region, and Norwegian analysts have suggested that international acquisitions by Statoil would be most likely made where it is already operating.

Earlier this month, Statoil, Chevron (CVX) and Devon Energy (DVN) said successful testing at several deepwater fields in the Gulf of Mexico could indicate a discovery of between 3 billion and 15 billion barrels of oil which would be the largest U.S. oil find for a generation.

Analysts said that while Statoil has the significant deepwater expertise crucial to succeed at a number of its international sites, including the Gulf of Mexico, it does not yet have the local knowledge and expertise which acquisition of smaller companies could fulfill.

Liderson's remarks echo those of Statoil's Chief Financial Officer Eldar Saetre at a conference in the U.S. in early September, who said the firm is considering acquisition opportunities following successful purchases of Algerian and Canadian assets.

Copyright (c) 2006 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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