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Statoil third quarter earnings lag due to lower output in North America

Key Points
  • Third quarter adjusted operating profit is $2.3 billion, vs. $2.45 billion forecast
  • International division posts loss of $27 million
Third-quarter numbers show no major surprises: Statoil CEO

Norwegian oil firm Statoil reported on Thursday lower-than-expected earnings due to impairment charges mainly related to lower output from its unconventional onshore assets in North America.

Statoil's adjusted operating profit reached $2.3 billion in the third quarter, up from $0.7 million during the same period a year ago but against expectations of $2.45 billion.

Statoil's international division posted a loss $27 million in the quarter against expectations for a profit of 73 million. Still, this was an improvement on a year ago when the division posted a loss of $596 million.

Jan Arne Wold | Statoil

"Net operating income was impacted by net impairment charges of $0.8 billion, mainly related to an unconventional onshore asset in North America of $0.9 billion, triggered by lower than expected production," Statoil said in a statement.

Statoil did not name the asset.

Over the past year the company has been trying to turn around its operations in North America, which mostly consist of offshore production in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as shale oil and gas in Texas, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York.

Statoil said its year-on-year results were up due to higher prices for both oil and gas, high production levels and strong refinery margins.

Like other oil companies, Statoil has been slashing costs in order to cope with a 50 percent drop in crude prices since 2014.

"With an oil price below $52 per barrel, we have generated $3.6 billion in free cash flow so far this year .... This has further strengthened our financial position," CEO Eldar Saetre said in a statement.