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Statoil Expects “Loads of” M&A Deals Coming Up [Interview]

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August 29, 2016

Credit: Harald Pettersen/Statoil ASA

ReutersSTAVANGER, Norway, Aug 29 (Reuters) – John Knight, Statoil’s executive vice-president for global strategy and business development, told Reuters on the sidelines of the ONS oil conference in Stavanger, Norway on Monday:

** “Absolutely, I think there are loads of deals out there,” he said when asked whether he expects more deals coming up

** Says: “If you look at the acquisition and divestment markets for upstream oil and gas on a global basis over the last five years, they have been falling to all-time lows… but there are a number of active spots, one of those is in certain parts of North American shale and you’ve seen us divesting some parts there to take advantage of that. And the other part is Norway.”

** “In the last year you’ve seen us concentrating in four areas. The first was a very complicated swap in four continents. Then we bought three partners out of Utgard at a very competitive pricing, reflecting the bottom of the cycle… Those two deals help with getting operational control and with fundamental efficiency in this low-price environment”

** The other two deals (Buying a stake in Lundin and exploration licence from Petrobras) are for the longer term.

** “Everything I’ve said there, involves us what I would call doubling down in places where we already have experience and where the asset quality is good or where the asset price is low, so that is what you can expect from us”

** “I won’t speculate on that but more exposure to Sverdrup is always welcome,” Knight said when asked whether Statoil would be interested in buying Maersk Oil’s stake in Sverdrup.

** Knight earlier told the ONS oil conference that he expects more deals in the Norwegian oil sector like the merger between BP’s Norwegian business and that of Norwegian oil firm Det norske and its top owner, holding company Aker, earlier this year.

** Says: “And I believe that the financial character and requirements of shareholders that sit behind this sort of change will be different to some of the larger players. I think it might mean we have to think about different ways of doing tax transfers and asset deals.”

** Says: “We all have to think further about the financial structures for decommissioning and abandonment. We will have to think about more collaborative and transitional models for operatorship.”

** Says: “I think we will see more complexity in contingency structures and in payments, when assets transfers and business transfers are made.” (Reporting by Gwladys Fouche and Stine Jacobsen, editing by Terje Solsvik and Alister Doyle)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2016.

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