Statoil, Norway's largest oil company, said that first quarter profit slumped by thirty one percent because of lower crude oil prices and a loss from making and selling fuels. Shares in the group fell on the news. Net income declined to 3.01 billion kroner ($363.6 million), or 1.39 krone a share, from 4.33 billion kroner, or 2.19 krone per share, in the same period last year. Analysts expected a profit of 3.15 billion, according to a survey by news service TDN Finans. The stock slid two and a half kroner, or three and a half percent percent, to seventy kroner. Rivals including BP and TotalFinaElf also suffered in the quarter because of a 19 percent drop in average oil prices to $21.40 a barrel. Profit from making fuels such as gasoline fell to a record low in parts of Europe as the slowing economy and a warmer than normal winter hurt demand for oil products. “The numbers from the downstream activities were disappointing,” said Henning Bratlie, a fund manager who helps oversee about 6 billion kroner in stocks and bonds at Skandia Fondsforvaltning's Norwegian funds.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969