OSLO, Norway (AP) — Norwegian oil company Statoil ASA on Tuesday said net profit dropped 4 percent in the first quarter, though the decline had much to do with the sale of a stake in a Canadian oil sands project that boosted the same quarter a year ago.
Profit was 15.4 billion kroner ($2.65 billion), down from 16.1 billion kroner a year earlier.
Revenue in the quarter rose 34 percent to 194.8 billion kroner, from 145.7 billion kroner in the same period in 2011.
State-controlled Statoil said its equity production rose 11 percent to 2.19 million barrels of oil equivalents a day.
Statoil shares rose 1.2 percent to 152.40 kroner on the Oslo stock exchange.
Handelsbanken analyst Anne Gjoen said the results were "better than expected," especially in Statoil's international operations.
The majority of Statoil's oil and gas production is on the Norwegian continental shelf but it also has operations in Canada, the U.S., Brazil, Venezuela, Russia and other countries.
Last year's first-quarter earnings were boosted by the sale of a 40-percent stake in the Kai Kos Dehseh oil sands project.
Statoil also said it had higher taxes in the first quarter of 2012, partly offset by higher operating income.
"Statoil grew production by 11 percent and realized high oil and gas prices in the first quarter of 2012, generating strong financial results for the period," Statoil CEO Helge Lund said. "Production was as expected, and we maintain our guidance for 2012."
Statoil said it aims to reach an equity production above 2.5 million barrels of oil equivalent in 2020 as new projects come on stream.