Statoil ASA, Norway’s biggest oil company, unexpectedly posted a profit in the first quarter as cost cutting helped offset the lowest crude prices in almost 12 years.
Adjusted earnings after tax fell to $122 million from $902 million ayear earlier, the Stavanger-based producer said in a statement Wednesday. The average forecast of 12 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for a $125 million loss.
Statoil joined BP Plc and Total SA in reporting better-than-expected first-quarter results as the company 67 percent owned by the Norwegian government cut operational costs per barrel by a fifth. Following the collapse in crude prices, oil majors have cut spending, delayed projects and eliminated jobs to protect cash flow and pay dividends.