Statoil's discovery says there's more life than expected in Norway's oil region

08/17/2011 3:33 pm EST


Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor,

For Statoil (STO in New York and STL.NO in Oslo) one plus one equaled way more than two yesterday.

The company has announced that its Aldous and Avaldsnes oil finds are probably part of a single combined oil structure that contains 500 million to 1.2 billion barrels of recoverable oil.

On August 8 Statoil reported that a well drilling at the Aldous Major South prospect had established a common oil and water contact between the Aldous and Avaldsnes oil structures.

This is the Statoil’s third high impact discovery this year. (A high impact discovery is one that holds more than 250 million barrels of oil equivalent.)

Shares of Statoil weren’t up much in Oslo on the discovery, but they’ve climbed 3.7% today in New York as of 3:00 p.m. New York time.

That’s not terribly surprising. European markets took a beating yesterday on news that economic growth in Germany just about vanished in the second quarter. And very few investors like oil stocks right now what with fears of a global economic slowdown running so high.

But if you can look past the short-term, you’ll note that in the last year Statoil has changed itself from a company presiding over the decline of the North Sea oil fields to one with big new finds in the North Sea and in waters further north. The company has also been expanding into unconventional oil deposits and deep-water drilling outside it home base. Statoil also is one of the few oil companies in the world with experience drilling in the extreme conditions in Arctic seas, an area of expertise that will only become more valuable as diminishing ice makes drilling for oil in the Arctic more and more feasible.

The shares in Oslo trade at just 5.9 times trailing 12-month earnings per share and pay a 5.1% dividend. The shares are trading at $24.06 in New York as I post this on Wednesday, August 17.  They’ve traded as high as $29.67 in the last 52 weeks. I’d buy them below $25 but frankly in this volatile market I think I can get them cheaper.

As of August 17 I’m adding them to my watch list .

Full disclosure: I don’t own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this post in my personal portfolio. The mutual fund I manage, Jubak Global Equity Fund , may or may not now own positions in any stock mentioned in this post. The fund did own shares of Statoil as of the end of June.  For a full list of the stocks in the fund as of the end of June see the fund’s portfolio at

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