Statoil ASA will continue to pursue opportunities both onshore and offshore in the United States, CEO Helge Lund said Wednesday.

Lund was the keynote luncheon speaker at IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates’ (CERA) CERAWeek 2010 in Houston. With infrastructure in place and low political risks compared with emerging global economies, North America is a solid place to do business for the Norwegian-based producer, he said.

“I spent part of the day Tuesday with my Houston team,” Lund said. “It was encouraging to see what we started back in 2002, with a few Norwegians, to have developed into a vibrant, competitive workforce of around 300 people in Houston. Our portfolio only reinforced the clear reason to develop in the U.S.”

Lund said his time in Houston “also made me reflect how the latest developments in the energy scene really have strengthened this country’s position to shape a more balanced energy future…Compared to Europe, your starting point is excellent…and we want to capitalize on this position.”

Lund, who joined Statoil in 2004, said the company had been growing outside Norway “quite rapidly,” but “additional growth potential was not sufficient to back up our ambitions.” So the company researched the best and most efficient places to invest, and it all came back to North America.

“The U.S. is in fact the country in the world where we have made the most investments in the last five years,” said the CEO. “The easy barrels are long gone or extremely expensive to access. In the higher remaining resource potential, there are less chances open to IOCs [international oil companies] or the terms offer investors limited upside.”

Statoil now is the third biggest leaseholder in the deepwater of the Gulf of Mexico. In late 2008 the company paid Chesapeake Energy Corp. $3.38 billion to gain a stake in the Marcellus Shale (see Daily GPI, Nov. 12, 2008). It has holdings in midstream markets and has stakes in Canada’s oilsands. And it’s a player in domestic liquefied natural gas markets (see Daily GPI, Dec. 2, 2009).

“On this basis we will continue to look for opportunities to continue to expand our industrial footprint in the U.S.,” said Lund.

©Copyright 2010Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news reportmay not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in anyform, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.