March 3 (Bloomberg) -- Statoil ASA, Europe’s second-biggest natural-gas supplier, climbed to the highest level in about 5 1/2 years as the dispute between Ukraine and Russia pushed commodity prices higher and stoked supply concerns.
Statoil rose 3.6 percent to 164.1 kroner at the close in Oslo, the highest since Aug. 29, 2008. More than double the daily average of shares traded today, compared with the past three months.
Gas prices jumped as much as 10 percent for next-month deliveries to the U.K. and the Netherlands, while Brent crude rose as much as 3 percent as tensions between Ukraine and Russia intensified over the weekend. That raised concerns over shipments of Russian gas through Ukraine, the transit for 16 percent of Europe’s consumption. Disruptions could raise demand from other suppliers such as Norway, Europe’s second-biggest after Russia.
“If Russia cuts gas exports through Ukraine, someone else must supply that market,” Andre Baustad Benonisen, an analyst at Danske Bank Markets, said by phone from Oslo. “We don’t know how much extra Statoil can deliver, but it would be natural to assume that they’re able to take an extra market share.”
Norway last year delivered 102.5 billion cubic meters of gas through its offshore pipelines, according to the network operator Gassco AS. State-controlled Statoil produces about a third of the country’s gas and also acts as a seller for third-party volumes.
While Statoil is monitoring the situation in Ukraine, it’s not taking any extraordinary measures, Morten Eek, a company spokesman, said by phone. He declined to say how much the company would be able to raise its gas production. Gassco is running operations as usual, Kjell Larsen, a spokesman, said in an e-mail.
The escalating conflict in Ukraine has had no effect on Statoil’s operations in Russia or its partnership with Rosneft OAO to explore the Arctic region, Lars Christian Bacher, executive vice president of international development and production, said in an interview today.
Shipments to Ukraine aren’t interrupted, Chief Financial Officer Andrey Kruglov of Russia’s gas-export monopoly OAO Gazprom said today.
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