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Dispute delays Corrib pipeline

DELAYS on the controversial Corrib gas pipeline mean the project will not be operational before 2008, Norwegian oil giant Statoil said yesterday. The company, which is working in partnership with Shell on the gas field project off the Co Mayo coast, said production would kick in a year behind schedule. “We have estimated the start-up in 2008, the earlier plan was 2007,” said chief executive Helge Lund, who was speaking after the company released third-quarter results yesterday. The project has attracted controversy as a result of the jailing of five residents of Rossport, Co Mayo, who obstructed work on the pipeline, which will link the gas field with the mainland, over safety fears. The men were released in September after spending almost 100 days in prison for breach of a court order.

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Statoil, which is Norway’s biggest oil company, reported a 49% hike in third-quarter profits as net income rose to over €1 billion, beating analyst expectations. Shares added 2% on the news, bringing gains to 49% so far this year. The company benefited from surging oil and gas prices during the quarter on the back of uncertainty over supply that was driven by two major hurricanes in America. The split of Statoil’s oil and gas activities means it is more exposed to changes in oil prices than other fuel companies, allowing it to perform better than many rivals when oil prices are high. It is valued at around €40bn. The company said it would produce almost 1.2 billion barrels of oil per day this year and bump this up to 1.4 million barrels in 2007. But it warned the 2007 target had become “more demanding” as a result of the delays in the Corrib field, as well as difficulties with a gas development in the Arctic Ocean. “Our production costs are continuing to decrease, but there is a cost pressure for the whole industry,” said Mr Lund.

Posted Date: 
17 October 2005 - 5:34pm