Norwegian oil company Statoil ASA on Wednesday said its profits soared in the fourth quarter on higher oil and gas prices and a one-time gain from the sale of a stake in a gas transportation company.
Net profit was 25.5 billion kroner ($4.40 billion), up from 9.7 billion kroner in the same period a year earlier. And revenue rose 22 percent to 173.9 billion kroner.
State-controlled Statoil booked a gain of 8.5 billion kroner, mostly related to the sale of a majority of its stake in Gassled, which owns the grid that transports gas from the Norwegian continental shelf to consumers on the European continent and Britain.
Equity production increased 1.5 percent to 1.975 million barrels of oil equivalents a day, and Statoil said it aims to reach production levels of 2.5 million barrels per day in 2020.
The company received a boost last year when it found new oil discoveries in the North Sea and the Arctic waters of the Barents Sea.
"We delivered strong exploration results in 2011, adding more than 1 billion barrels to Statoil's resource base," CEO Helge Lund said. "Making high impact discoveries in the mature North Sea as well as in the Barents Sea reaffirms the potential of the Norwegian continental shelf."
Statoil shares rose 2.60 percent to 153.90 kroner in Oslo after the earnings report.