Statoil Q2 profit beats forecast; keeps dividend

Norwegian oil major Statoil posted better than forecast second-quarter profit on Tuesday and maintained its quarterly dividend despite taking a hit due to lower oil prices.

Recovering from a surprise net loss in the previous quarter due to a writedown on its U.S. shale business, Statoil trimmed its capital spending target but kept its exploration costs and production forecasts.

It said adjusted operating profit amounted to 22.4 billion Norwegian crowns ($2.74 billion), down from 32.3 billion in the same quarter a year ago but above expectations for 19.5 billion in a Reuters poll of analysts.

The firm made an adjusted net profit of 7.2 billion crowns in the quarter, also beating analysts' expectation for a profit of 5.6 billion.

The results were boosted by a 4 percent growth in production despite the sale of some assets, the proceeds of which amounted to 13.8 billion crowns.

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Stronger than foreseen refinery operations, which benefit from low oil prices,also helped.

But underscoring the woes of the global industry, Statoil failed to break even in its international business, where it produces oil and gas in dozens of countries from Canada to states in Africa.

It trimmed its capital expenditure program this year to $17.5 billion from$18 billion previously predicted.

Statoil said it would pay a quarterly dividend of 1.80 crowns, flat from the previous quarter, and in line with guidance to maintain dividends at this level for the first three quarters of 2015.

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