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Monday, September 8, 2014

Norway’s Statoil has expanded its presence in Colombia.

As a state-owned company, Statoil could also expand in Central America, where several governments dislike privatizing what they consider as a national resource.

In Colombia, Statoil will buy Repsol’s stake in two deep-water exploration licenses, the company said last week.

Repsol will still have a share in both projects.

Other partners include Ecopetrol and Petrobras, both state-owned.

Colombia controls Ecopetrol.

Petrobras is controlled by Brazil.

The licences cover 12,000 square kilometers – 4,500 square miles – in water of a depth of up to 7,000 meters - 11,500 feet.

In Central America, Statoil could have an advantage.

Several governments, especially Costa Rica and El Salvador, dislike privatizing what they consider as a national resource.

Statoil could also be attractive to Nicaragua, whose government describes itself as populist.

The Norwegian people own Statoil, though a state, which holds two-thirds of the shares.

The rest are publicly traded.

The company, with oil-gas operations in 36 countries and 2013 revenues of $108 billion, has its share of controversy, including proposed drilling in the Arctic, and problems with oil sands in Canada.

But in general the company has a good environmental record, including research in how to reduce the impact of the oil industry.

In addition, it uses part of its profit to contribute to public pension funds.