Norway Oil Min: Sees Statoil-Norsk Hydro Merger Approved by EU

Mar 28, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Norway Oil and Energy Minister Odd Roger Enoksen said Wednesday that he believed the European Union would approve the proposed merger between Statoil ASA (STO) and Norsk Hydro ASA (NHY).

Statoil filed an application to antitrust regulators at the European Commission for approval of its merger with Norsk Hydro after announcing the planned tie-up late last year. The two companies are the largest oil and gas producers on the Norwegian Continental Shelf and the country exports most of its natural gas to the U.K. and continental Europe.

"The market share in European countries of the new company will not be that substantial that it should be a problem," Enoksen said.

"Norway will supply approximately 16% of total consumption in European countries in the coming years, even with our planned increased production," he said.

He said Statoil and Norsk Hydro are in discussions with the Commission, "and I do not expect any difficulties with this."

Although Norway is not part of the European Union, as a member of the European Economic Area, it has agreed to anti-trust rules.

Copyright (c) 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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