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An oilfield worker walks down a flight of stairs at the Statoil oil sands facility near Conklin, Alberta, in this file picture taken November 3, 2011.


Norwegian oil and gas firm Statoil ASA cut its 2013 output guidance due to a major divestment and low gas prices in the U.S., and also flagged a major fourth-quarter maintenance outage.

Statoil, the biggest listed company in the Nordics with a market capitalization of $79-billion (U.S.), said its 2012 equity production would be around 2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day but 2013, previously seen in line with this year, would instead show a drop.

Statoil recently announced that it would sell minority stakes in several production assets to Wintershall, a unit of German chemicals giant BASF SE in a deal that will give the firm up to $1.45– billion in cash.

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"For 2013, the recently announced transaction with Wintershall will reduce the production," it said.

"In addition, growth in the U.S. onshore gas production is expected to be adjusted down by around 25,000 per day compared to earlier assumptions due to low gas prices."

It added that planned maintenance would reduce its output in the fourth quarter by around 30,000 barrels per day after heavy maintenance outages in the third quarter as well.

In the third quarter, Statoil's quarterly adjusted operating profit fell 7 per cent to 40 billion Norwegian crowns ($6.93-billion U.S.), trailing expectations for 42.08 billion crowns.

By 2020, Statoil plans to raise production to over 2.5 million barrels per day and said the short-term guidance cut would not impact its long-term prospects.

Once a strictly local player, Statoil has expanded rapidly and now operates in dozens of countries with a portfolio that includes shale production in the U.S., deepwater production in Brazil and liquefied natural gas in the Arctic, among others.

It also established a track record as a top explorer with big finds in places like east Africa, Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico and the mature areas of the North Sea, underpinning its development plans.

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