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Statoil president and CEO Eldar Sætre. Image courtesy of Ole Jørgen Bratland/ Statoil.

Statoil said Thursday it acquired a minority shareholder stake in Lundin Petroleum, a Sweden-based independent oil and gas upstream firm.

Norway-based Statoil has acquired 37,101, 561 shares in Lundin Petroleum AB, corresponding to 11.93 percent of the company’s shares and votes.

The shares were purchased for $540 million, or about SEK 4.6 billion.

Through the acquisition, Statoil said it will increase its exposure to core field development projects and growth assets on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS), including Johan Sverdrup and Edvard Grieg “at attractive values.”

“The investment underpins Statoil’s long term interest and commitment to the future of the NCS,” Statoil said.

Over the last decade, Lundin Petroleum has built a strong portfolio on the NCS as well as in Malaysia and France.

Lundin had 187.5 million barrels of oil equivalent of reserves at the end of 2014 and increased its reserve base four fold from 2002 to 2014.

The company produced 24,900 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2014.

Lundin has booked proved plus probable reserves of 515 million barrels of oil equivalent for the full field development of Johan Sverdrup as of 2015, based on its 22.60 percent working interest.

“We consider this a long term shareholding. The Norwegian Continental Shelf is the backbone of Statoil’s business, and this transaction indirectly strengthens our total share of the value creation from core, high value assets on the NCS,” president and CEO of Statoil  Eldar Sætre said.

Statoil said it is supportive of Lundin Petroleum’s management, its board of directors and the firm’s strategy.

Statoil added that it has is no plan to increase its shareholding in Lundin.

In a report released on Thursday, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) said investment in the NCS fell by 16 percent from 2014 to 2015 to just under $17.06 billion, or about NOK 150 billion.

The agency expects investment in the NCS to continue falling over the next two years but expects a moderate increase in 2019.

The NPD estimates that investments will exceed $22.75 billion, or about NOK 200 billion per year, “in the next few years.”

More than half of the resources on the Shelf have yet to be produced, according to the report.

NPD Director General Bente Nyland added that he is concerned that sinking oil prices “will mean that measures will not be implemented, and resources will be left in the ground.”