- WSJ: WORLD NEWS
- May 2, 2013, 3:51 a.m. ET
By KJETIL MALKENES HOVLAND
Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil ASA posted Thursday 58% lower first-quarter net profit on the year, missing expectations amid lower production volumes and lower prices.
Statoil’s first-quarter net profit was 6.4 billion Norwegian kroner ($1.1 billion), or 2.02 kroner per share. Net profit was expected at 13.76 billion kroner in a FactSet poll of 11 analysts. This figure differs from net profit as reported by U.S. oil companies because it includes changes in the value of inventories.
Statoil said its adjusted earnings before interest and tax, which exclude inventory effects and are regarded as a key performance metric, were 42.4 billion kroner in the quarter, down from 59.2 billion kroner a year ago and missing analysts’ forecast of 47.98 billion kroner.
“We deliver financial results impacted by lower production and reduced prices,” said Statoil Chief Executive Helge Lund.
Earnings were also impacted by provisions of 4.9 billion kroner related to the Cove Point liquefied natural gas terminal in the United States, Statoil said.
The company’s first-quarter production was impacted by the terror attack that killed five of its employees at the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria in January, which has prompted Statoil to review the security of its international operations.
Statoil said its production growth toward 2020 won’t be linear, and reiterated its forecast of lower production in 2013 than in 2012, affected by among other things the In Amenas attack and an asset swap with Wintershall AG (WSL.YY) that would shave about 40,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day off Statoil’s production once the deal closes.
The second train at In Amenas started producing in the second quarter, but the plant needs further work to return to normal production, Statoil said.
Overall production in the first quarter was affected by technical problems at the Snohvit, Troll and Peregrino fields. The output was 1.998 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, compared to 2.193 million barrels per day in the year-ago period.
The reduced capacity at the giant Troll gas field and the Snohvit gas field, where gas is exported as liquefied natural gas, will reduce Statoil’s gas output flexibility, the company said.
Statoil’s first-quarter oil and gas production exceeded expectations of 1.987 million barrels of oil equivalent a day in a Statoil-compiled analyst poll. The production decrease was mainly due to lower gas sales and lower oil output from the Norwegian continental shelf than a year ago, while international production rose.
“Statoil delivered record international production, with an increase of 6%, mainly due to start-up and ramp-up of fields,” said Mr. Lund.
Statoil posted first-quarter revenue of 162.2 billion kroner, compared to the consensus forecast of 166.22 billion kroner.
Statoil shares closed Tuesday at 140.70 kroner, valuing the company at 448.6 billion kroner, down 0.2% from six months ago.