Statoil Increases Production in 2002

"We increased our oil and gas production by seven percent and delivered a good result in 2002," comments Statoil chief executive Olav Fjell. "Enhanced regularity and cost efficiency on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS), high gas sales and a substantial unrealized currency gain on our debt made big contributions to improving the result. On the negative side, results were affected by weakened oil and gas prices and refining margins measured in Norwegian kroner. Our group has been strengthened by good earnings and further progress in developing our international positions. The result for 2002 shows that we're well on the way to achieving our goals for 2004." Twenty-eight wildcat and appraisal wells were drilled in 2002, with discoveries being made in 21 of these. Finding and development costs showed positive progress, and are now US $6.2 per barrel.

Statoil increased its reserve replacement rate to 98 percent in 2002, which compares with 89 percent the year before. Remaining proven reserves at December 31, 2002 totaled 4,267 million boe down from 4,277 million a year earlier. Over the past three years, the average reserve replacement rate has been 78 percent.

Statoil became operator for all the fields in the Tampen area of the NCS on January 1, 2003, when it took over from Norsk Hydro on Visund, Snorre, Tordis and Vigdis. Sigyn came on stream in December 2002.

Snohvit in the Barents Sea is under development, and Statoil has concluded an agreement with El Paso which secures access to the American gas market through Maryland's Cove Point terminal. The estimated cost of Snohvit was raised by NOK 5.8 billion in the autumn of 2002, corresponding to a 15 percent increase from the figure in the plan for development and operation. All of Statoil's other projects are within budget.

Two new international operatorships have been secured. The group gained a foothold in Iran with offshore responsibility for phases six-eight of the South Pars development, taking over in December 2002. In February 2003, Statoil obtained the operatorship for block 4 in Venezuela's Plataforma Deltana project.

The group's gas sales rose by 34 per cent from 14.7 billion standard cubic metres (scm) in 2001 to 19.6 billion in 2002. Statoil sold 6.2 billion scm in the fourth quarter as against 4.7 billion in the same period of the year before. These high sales figures reflect an increase in the portfolio of long-term contracts and the fact that customers took advantage of the flexibility built into their agreements. Statoil has resolved to expand annual capacity in the gas treatment complex at Karsto north of Stavanger by 13.5 million scm per day to accommodate deliveries from Kristin and Mikkel, two of the group's projects on the NCS. The group made further advances in the UK gas market during 2002 by concluding a long-term sales contract with British Gas and by acquiring development rights for a natural gas store in eastern England.