Statoil CEO Lund Resigns, Saetre Joins As Interim Chief

Norwegian energy firm Statoil ASA (STO - Analyst Report) recently announced the resignation of its President and CEO Helge Lund with immediate effect. The company's board of directors have appointed Eldar Saetre as acting president and CEO of Statoil, until a permanent CEO is selected.

Acting CEO, Eldar Saetre has been a member of Statoil's corporate executive committee since 2003. He served as executive vice president and CFO until 2010, then as executive vice president of the Marketing, Processing and Renewable energy business area.

Helge Lund had assumed the role as President and CEO of Statoil on Aug 16, 2004. He led the company through the merger with Norsk Hydro's oil and gas division. During his tenure, Statoil has become a streamlined technology driven upstream company, through the divestment of activities such as petrochemicals and retail. At the same time, Statoil has created a niche in renewable energy, through investment in offshore wind.

Tor Martin Anfinnsen has been appointed as acting executive vice president of the Marketing, Processing and Renewable Energy segment. Statoil's board of directors has formed a sub-committee, which has started the search for Statoil's next CEO and will also engage an external adviser in the search. The members of the board sub-committee are chairman Svein Rennemo, board members Grace Reksten Skaugen, James Mulva and Lill Heidi Bakkerud.

Statoil is an integrated oil and gas company. One of the world's major sellers of crude oil, Statoil is also a premier supplier of natural gas in the European market and has substantial industrial operations. The group has service stations in the Scandinavian countries, Ireland, Poland, the Baltic states and Russia.

In recent times, Statoil has delivered strong exploration results, adding significantly to its resource base by making several high impact discoveries. The latest finds give the company access to new regions of Norway, Russia, Azerbaijan, Tanzania and Australia, paving the way for long-term growth.

Statoil aims to achieve an equity production of above 2.5 million barrels of oil equivalent in 2020. The growth is expected to come from new projects from 2014 to 2016 that will result in a compound annual growth rate of 2% to 3% for the period 2012 to 2016. The second stream of projects is expected within the 2016−2020 period that would likely lead to a CAGR of 3% to 4%.

Currently, Statoil carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked stocks in the same industry include Enbridge Energy Management LLC (EEQ - Snapshot Report), Helix Energy Solutions Group Inc. (HLX - Snapshot Report) and Newpark Resources Inc. (NR - Snapshot Report). All these sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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