High oil prices boost Statoil's results

Norwegian oil company Statoil said Monday it earned NOK 3.6 billion after tax during the first quarter.

Norwegian oil company Statoil said Monday it earned NOK 3.6 billion after tax during the first quarter. Statoil also announced a major gas deal with one of the world's largest utilities.

Statoil attributed its strong results to high oil prices, strong production and rising gas sales from Norwegian oil fields in the North Sea.

Oil and gas production amounted to 1.16 million barrels a day, up 6 percent over the first quarter of last year.

Statoil's after-tax profits were NOK 600 million higher than the same three-month period of 2002. Pre-tax profits profits amounted to NOK 13.8 billion, up 38 percent over last year.

Statoil also reported Monday that it had secured a long-term contract to sell gas to a major French utility, one of the biggest in the world.

Statoil will sell a billion cubic meters of gas a year for the next 15 years to Electricit'e de France National (EDF). Sales will commence in October 2005.

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