April 30 (UPI) — After reporting first quarter earnings below analyst expectations, Norwegian major Statoil announced it was selling off non-core assets in the North Sea.
The company, co-owned by the government, reported net operating income of $5 billion, up from the $4.3 billion during the first quarter of 2017. Earnings after tax were $1.5 billion, up about 35 percent from the same period last year, but slightly below analyst expectations.
On Monday, the company agreed to sell its 17 percent interest in the Alba oil field in the British waters of the North Sea to Verus Petroleum for an undisclosed sum. In a separate agreement, Verus paid $63 million to take a 47 percent interest in the Babbage gas field in the North Sea from Premier Oil.
For Statoil, the agreement is part of an effort to add more low-carbon components to its portfolio.
“With this transaction, we focus on core activities in line with our high value, low carbon strategy,” says Hedda Felin, a regional senior vice president said in a statement. “We are committed to a broad energy portfolio in the U.K., with offshore oil & gas and offshore wind projects, an active exploration program on the British continental shelf, and secure supplies of natural gas.”
The board of directors at Statoil last month proposed a name change to Equinor — drawing in part on words like “equal” and “nor” to signify its Norwegian roots and taking the word “oil” out of its name.
The company has established a solid presence outside of the conventional energy sector. In December, it secured a 79,000-acre plot off the coast of New York for its Empire Wind project, a wind farm with a design capacity of 1 gigawatt.
Statoil is one of the leading producers of oil and gas in the world, drawing on reserves from the North Sea to the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico.