Norwegian oil giant Statoil has reported a net income of NOK40.6 billion in 2006, compared to NOK30.7 billion in 2005. Statoil has broken the NOK40 billion threshold for the first time, making its fiscal 2006 figures a record.

<p>Statoil attributes its record annual income to the combination of acquiring two deepwater portfolios in the Gulf of Mexico, bringing nine new fields on line in the North Sea, and the divestment of its fuel retail business in the Republic of Ireland. <br /><br />Net income for the fourth quarter of 2006 was NOK12.0 billion, compared to NOK8.5 billion for the same period of 2005. The increase in net income of NOK3.5 billion from Q4 2005 to Q4 2006 was mainly due to higher financial income and lower income taxes, Statoil said in a statement.<br /><br />The annual income for 2006 is the best ever for Statoil. We maintain strong earnings and competitive returns, said chief executive Helge Lund.<br /><br /></p>