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Statoil May Consider Canadian Liquified Natural Gas Business

Statoil ASA, Norway’s biggest oil and natural gas producer, may consider a liquified natural gas exporting business for its Canadian operations.

“If there is a business opportunity and it is the right timing then I think we’ll go for it,” Stale Tungesvik, president of Canadian operations, said in an interview in Calgary yesterday. “We have a rather active M&A group looking at things. Timing is the key word. We are looking for things continuously.”

Statoil would be up against larger competitors like Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp. that have proposed LNG operations in Western Canada. Companies in Canada, the third-largest gas producer, are seeking to export to new markets as North American output climbs and prices trade near 10-year lows.

“These huge resources need to reach a market that’s willing to pay for it,” said Tungesvik.

Statoil’s Canadian division produces bitumen from its oil-sands operations in Alberta as well as crude in Newfoundland from offshore platforms. The company, based in Stavanger, Norway, already has LNG production from the Snohvit gas field in the Norwegian Sea, north of the Arctic Circle.

Statoil plans to “optimize” its existing assets in Canada, said Tungesvik, who was appointed to lead the Canadian division two months ago. Production at Statoil’s oil-sands operations in Alberta is about 20,000 barrels a day and the company plans to double that figure, he said without providing a time frame.

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