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Statoil Energy Looking for "Strategic Partner"

Statoil Energy Looking for "Strategic Partner"

With the amount of capital driving today's energy companies, Statoil Energy recently announced it is searching for a partner to bolster its resource base. A spokesman for the Virginia-based energy marketer said the process is moving quickly and the company hopes to have found a partner by the end of the year.

"Our parent group, Statoil, has invested $700 million in Statoil Energy," said Dave Bornmann, a Statoil Energy spokesman. "The search has been misconstrued as a selling of interest. Statoil is not looking for someone to come buy $350 million of the company. They are searching for someone to come in and add to what already exists."

Bornmann said the ideal partner would be another energy company. "We are looking for a company that will bring something to the table besides money. It is not a requirement, but the one that has assets complementing those of Statoil Energy will be more likely to be chosen." He added that Statoil Energy is in discussions with investment banks right now, but the search has not officially started yet.

In a related story, seven members on the 10-person board of directors for Statoil Energy's parent company, the Norwegian government-owned Statoil, will not have their directorship renewed due to poor management of the Aasgard oil and gas field in the Norwegian Sea.

The three member who will have their positions renewed were elected by company workers, while the seven who were fired were originally placed on the board by the Norwegian government. Anne Lahnstein, Norway's oil and energy minister, said costs for the field's development surged to $64 billion crowns (U.S. $8.2 billion) from an original $47 billion crowns, and that "its best for the company to appoint a new board."

Bornmann said this upheaval will not affect the Statoil Energy's operations. "Those people were fired because of operations related to that field. Our search for a partner, and our operations as a whole, will go on unaffected."

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