Statoil hikes investment as it eyes ramp-up in exploration

NORWEGIAN oil major Statoil will ramp up spending this year to $19bn (£12bn), as it eyes the completion of around 50 wells in 2013.

The state-controlled group said yesterday that it would lift its capital spending to an average of $21bn in 2013-16, compared to an investment of $13.7bn in 2010.

The high spending will lift Statoil's production from 2m barrels of oil equivalent a day in 2012 to more than 2.5m a day by 2020, with almost all of the increase coming from fields outside its traditional base in Norway.

Having already undertaken an aggressive expansion of its exploration interests abroad, Statoil aims to boost investments to record highs through 2016, bringing new fields into production from Brazil and East Africa to the North Sea, and drilling more wells than ever before as oil prices sit comfortably over $115 per barrel.

Statoil’s exploration efforts paid off last year, as it posted an eight per cent jump in production to 2bn barrels oil of equivalent a day, up from 1.9bn in 2011.

Over the fourth quarter, Statoil logged adjusted earnings of 48.3bn Norwegian krone (£5.57bn), ahead of expectations and up from 45.9bn in the fourth quarter of 2011.

On the back of better-than-expected earnings it raised its dividend from 6.5 Norwegian krone to 6.75 per ordinary share.