Statoil (NYSE:STO), the Norwegian state-controlled oil and gas exploration and development company, sold minority interests in two North Sea oil fields to Austrian oil and gas company OMV for $2.65 billion in cash, Statoil announced today.

"Through this transaction, Statoil captures value created through asset development and unlocks capital for investment in high return projects in core areas This includes our recent discoveries on the Norwegian continental shelf," said Helge Lund, Statoil's CEO, in the company's statement.

Statoil will retain control and "operatorship" with a 51% share of both the Gullfaks and Gudrun fields off the Norwegian coast.

Upon closing of the deal, which is expected at the end of 2013, OMV will hold 19% of Gulfaks, and Petoro, the licensee for Norway's interest in production licenses, fields, pipelines, and land-based plants, will control the remaining 30%. OMV will hold 24% of the Gudrun field, with French natural gas supplier GDF Suez (NASDAQOTH:GDFZY) holding the remaining 25%.

In addition, Statoil is selling its 30% interest in the Schiehallion field and its 6% stake in the Rosebank field, which are west of the Shetlands.

Statoil said it expects to achieve a profit of between $1.3 billion and $1.5 billion from the OMV transaction. It will also be able to pull $7 billion of capital expenditure from the Shetlands fields, allowing it to redeploy its assets. The company said it has realized approximately $15 billion through divestment since 2010.

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