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Norsk Hydro Strikes Oil and Gas Off Norway

Norsk Hydro struck oil and natural gas reserves about 75 miles off the western Norway city of Bergen, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate announced Monday.

The directorate described the strike as minor though no estimate was given for the size of the find.

It said field partners may link the oil and gas reserve to existing production facilities at the nearby Fram field, also operated by Norsk Hydro.

"The wells were not production-tested, but extensive data collection and sampling were carried out," a news release said.

The Norwegian government has encouraged oil companies to look for small finds near producing offshore fields to maintain the oil flows that make the Nordic country a major oil exporter. Linking new discoveries to existing platforms sharply reduces development costs.

Norsk Hydro, which has agreed to sell its oil division to Norwegian state-controlled rival Statoil, owns 25% of the field. Mobil Development Norway also owns 25%, Statoil has a 20% stake, while Idemitsu Petroleum Norge and Gaz de France Norge each have 15%.

After Statoil takes over Norsk Hydro's oil and natural gas division later this year, the company will focus on its aluminum and power generations units.

Norsk Hydro shares were up 1.05% at 216.25 kroner ($35.62) in midday trading on the Oslo stock exchange.