Recovering oil prices fuel Statoil profits

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Norwegian oil giant Statoil said Wednesday that rising oil prices and record output enabled it to return to the black last year, even exceeding its own targets.

The oil behemoth said in a statement that “higher prices and continued solid operational performance, with record high production” helped it swing back to net profit of $4.6 billion (3.7 billion euros) in 2017 from a loss of $2.9 billion a year earlier.

Full-year revenues grew by 33 percent to $61.2 billion.

“We have delivered above and beyond even quite ambitious targets,” said president and CEO Eldar Saetre.

“In a recovering market, we delivered strong earnings and cash flow from all business segments. We had record high production both in the fourth quarter and for the full year, supported by continued solid operational performance. We expect long-term underlying earnings growth.”

Statoil said it produced an average of 2.08 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2017, an increase of five percent over the previous year.

After falling from $115 per barrel in 2014 to under $35 at the end of February 2016, oil prices have been on the rise recently after OPEC countries and other oil-producing nations agreed to throttle output to reduce a glut in the market.

By the end of 2017, oil prices were back at around $60 per barrel.

Statoil’s return to profit comes after other oil majors — such as ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell and BP — also all reported significantly improved profits last year.

The Norwegian group also plans to ramp up investments to some $11 billion this year, after having scaled them back to $9.4 billion in 2017.

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