NORWEGIAN energy giant Statoil posted net profit of 23.7bn krone (£2.35bn) in the first quarter, up from 6.4bn krone the previous year, beating market expectations thanks to a rise in US gas prices.
Statoil is present in all the major US shale gas plays and benefited from higher demand due to an unusually cold winter.
“Higher prices and good results from our US gas value chain contributed to a nine per cent increase in adjusted earnings, compared to the same quarter last year. Our operational performance is solid, providing the foundation for around two per cent rebased organic production growth in 2014,” said president and chief executive Helge Lund.
Shares in Statoil climbed over three per cent in early trading and closed 4.5 per cent higher.
Separately, Lund said it was too early to say if US sanctions on the head of Russian oil producer Rosneft would affect the companies’ joint ventures.
The EU and US have ramped up sanctions on Russia due to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.