is disposing of its 5.26 per cent holding in German company Verbundnetz Gas
(VNG) to EWE AG, Germany
, subject to the final approval of the transaction.
The group has agreed a sale of these shares after reassessing its position in VNG in connection with the current restructuring of ownership in the company.
Statoil's aim is to finalise the transaction by the end of the first quarter of 2004.
As a gas merchant, VNG operates primarily in Germany's eastern states.
Statoil acquired its stake in the company in 1991, when the German authorities were seeking to privatise it.
That formed part of the process of selling off companies previously owned by the state in the former German Democratic Republic.
VNG holds roughly 16 per cent of the German market for natural gas.