Apr 27, 4:42 AM EDT

Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil ASA has swung to a profit of $611 million in the first quarter as reduced costs helped offset low crude prices


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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) -- Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil ASA has swung to a profit of $611 million in the first quarter as reduced costs helped offset low crude prices.

The figure reported Wednesday compares with a loss of $4.57 billion in the same period last year, when Norway's biggest oil producer had large write-downs.

Revenue at the partly government-owned company dropped 34 percent to $10.1 billion.

CEO Eldar Saetre said the industry "is facing challenges," adding Statoil was "radically improving our project break-evens and we are on track to reset costs." The company has been stepping up its cost-cutting program and reining in spending in recent months.

Statoil's average production in the quarter was 2.05 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, virtually similar to 2.06 million barrels daily a year ago.

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