Statoil’s Reitan Sets Sights on US Shale Oil Cost Cutting

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Statoil’s Reitan Sets Sights on US Shale Oil Cost Cutting


Category: Energy

Torgrim Reitan, who’s about to take charge of Statoil ASA’s U.S. business after serving as chief financial officer since 2011, has one priority: improve profitability by cutting costs.

Norway’s state-controlled oil producer has already reduced onshore operating costs in the U.S. by 30 percent this year as part of a company-wide efficiency program that Reitan, 46, helped to introduce, Statoil said Tuesday.

“There’s always more potential, both on the operational side, but also on technology,” Reitan said in an interview after an earnings presentation in Oslo. “In the current price environment, we’re struggling with profitability. The most important thing will be first to make sure that this part of the business is even more robust with regards to low prices.”

Reitan, a 20-year company veteran, assumes leadership of Statoil’s Houston-based U.S. operations on Aug. 1. They include shale oil and gas resources in the Marcellus, Eagle Ford and Bakken areas acquired since 2008 as Statoil sought to expand abroad to meet production-growth targets amid falling output from aging North Sea fields, as well as production and exploration assets in the Gulf of Mexico.

Those output targets have since been abandoned as the company refocused on shareholder returns in early 2014. ABG Sundal Collier Holding ASA’s John Olaisen is among the analysts who have been critical of Statoil’s investments in unconventional U.S. assets, which bear the main responsibility for more than 84 billion kroner ($10.3 billion) in writedowns over the past year as oil prices collapsed.

Acquisition Opportunities

That hasn’t deterred Statoil, which is scouting for acquisition opportunities in the U.S. and elsewhere, Reitan said.

Source: Bloomberg

Published: July 25, 2024