(Corrects first paragraph, adding dropped word ‘gas’)
* Cuts 2010 “equity” output view to 1.9 mln boed
* Q3 profit off 14% at 26.7bln NOK, average forecast 31 bln
* High maintenance hit Q3 results, pulled down 2010 output
* Keeps 2012 2.06-2.16 mln boed goal, 2011 growth seen weak
* Shares fall 4 pct in early trade to one-month low
(Adds analyst’s comment, further details, share price reaction)
By Wojciech Moskwa and Joachim Dagenborg
OSLO, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Norway’s Statoil (STL.OL) slashed its 2010 oil and gas production target on Wednesday after extensive maintenance during the third quarter weakened earnings and cast doubt on its plans to boost production by up to 14 percent by 2012.
Statoil, one of Europe’s largest oil companies by market capitalisation and the continent’s second biggest supplier of natural gas, cut its 2010 production forecast, as measured on its own “equity production” basis to 1.9 million barrels per day of oil equivalent from an early 1.925 million to 1.975 million boed.
It stuck to its 2012 equity production target of 2.06 million to 2.16 million boed but said that it expected limited output growth in 2011.
“It’s true they held onto their 2012 guidance but the question is whether continued problems will lead to pressure on this target,” said Endre Storloekken, an analyst at Danske Bank, calling third-quarter results “sharply below expectations”.
Statoil’s chief executive Helge Lund said that the cut in the 2010 output view reflected longer maintenance shutdowns and delayed production, not a deterioration in reservoir quality.
“Equity production” is a term used by Statoil to reflect the volumes it would have received if its oil and gas contracts gave the rights to a share of production equivalent to its share of expenditure.
It is a measure not used by other major companies and actual production is usually considerably lower. Actual or entitlement production was down 19 percent year-on-year in the third quarter at 1.4 million boed, while equity output was 1.6 million boed.
The company’s adjusted operating profit in the third quarter fell to 26.7 billion crowns ($4.57 billion) from 31.1 billion in the same period last year and missed all 19 analysts’ predictions given in a Reuters poll which ranged from 28.4 billion to 34.2 billion crowns.
Statoil said its quarterly result was positively affected by a 14 percent increase in liquids prices and an 8 percent increase in gas prices compared with the third quarter of 2009.
The shares were down 4.33 percent at 123.8 crowns at 0805 GMT -- their lowest level since Sept. 30, while the STOXX 600 European oil and gas sector index .SXEP was off 0.13 percent. ($1=5.837 Norwegian Crown) (Reporting by Oslo newsroom; Additional reporting by Tom Bergin and Camilla Knudsen; Editing by Greg Mahlich)