Norway's Statoil Takes Hit

Statoil expects Brent crude to reach $75 a barrel in 2020.Statoil expects Brent crude to reach $75 a barrel in 2020.

Norway's integrated oil and gas company Statoil plunged to an unexpected loss in the fourth quarter of last year, as it cut its long-term assumptions for the price of oil and took a $2.3 billion impairment charge on the value of its assets as a result.

But the state-controlled company cheered some analysts with a higher than expected production forecast for 2017, with plans to cut another $1 billion in costs by saying the average break-even price for its new projects had fallen sharply, Reuters reported.

"We guess the market will like Statoil's 2017 guidance and probably forgive the major Q4 earnings miss," said Teodor Sveen-Nilsen at Swedbank.

The company estimated its average break-even price for new projects by 2022 has fallen to $27 a barrel from $41 this time last year.

Though oil prices have recovered in recent months, helped by output cuts by major producers, they remain well below levels of more than $100 a barrel earlier in the decade.

Statoil said on Tuesday it now expected benchmark Brent crude to reach $75 a barrel in 2020, compared with a previous forecast of $83, and $80 in 2030, compared with $100 before.

Statoil said it made a net operating loss of $1.9 billion for the quarter, versus an operating profit of $152 million in the same period of 2015 and analysts' average forecast of a $2.1 billion profit.

The company's adjusted operating profit fell to $1.66 billion from $1.78 billion a year earlier, missing analysts' forecast for a rise to $2.27 billion as its international unit's performance fell short of expectations.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints