Oil Majors File Complaint to Ministry Over StatoilHydro's Dominance

OSLO (Dow Jones Newswires), July 18, 2008

A group of oil majors and other companies operating in Norway have filed a group complaint to Norway's oil ministry about the dominance of Norwegian incumbent StatoilHydro ASA (STO) over gas pipeline plans, one of the complainants told Dow Jones Newswires.

The group of companies, which include Conoco Phillips (COP), Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA), Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), DONG and Total (TOT), believes Norway's StatoilHydro, which operates most of the country's oil and gas assets, and state-owned Petoro, have too much influence over the pipeline system.

The company official told Dow Jones Newswires that the group of complainants are arguing to get better rights in Gassled, a group of companies which owns the Norwegian gas pipeline system and makes decisions over where new pipes go and which fields they connect. Gassco is the gas system operator.

StatoilHydro, which is majority state-owned is the result of Statoil's purchase of Norsk Hydro's ASA (NHY) oil and gas assets in a deal which completed late in 2007.

Many officials raised concerns before the deal, saying the giant company could kill off the existing healthy competition on the Norwegian continental shelf between Statoil and Norsk Hydro.

The oil ministry couldn't immediately be reached for comment. 

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