Statoil Earnings Trail Forecasts; Sees Output Drop in 2013

Norwegian oil and gas firm Statoil reported third-quarter operating earnings below expectations on Friday and cut its 2013 production guidance due to a major asset divestment.

Statoil's quarterly adjusted operating profit fell 7 percent to 40 billion Norwegian crowns ($6.93 billion), trailing expectations for 42.08 billion crowns.

Statoil, the biggest listed company in the Nordics with a market capitalization of $79 billion, said it expects equity production around 2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2012, in line with an earlier forecast, but sees a decline next year.

"For 2013, the recent announced transaction with Wintershall will reduce the production," it said. "In addition, growth in the U.S. onshore gas production is expected to be adjusted down by around 25 mboe per day compared to earlier assumptions due to low gas prices.

Statoil CEO Helge Lund told CNBC that despite the miss on the adjusted operating line, the company had a strong quarter with solid operational performance.

The quarterly results are in line with the firm's schedule, Lund said.

Lund also said that Statoil has build a strong balance sheet over the past two years to make sure the firm will be safe if the global economy won't be able to regain its momentum.

"We are cautiously looking at the global arena as the U.S. economy is struggling, Europe's economy remains problematic, and growth prospects in Asia continue to be uncertain."