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EU regulators approve Statoil, Norsk Hydro merger

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(BRUSSELS) - EU regulators approved on Thursday Norwegian oil company Statoil's takeover of the oil and gas activities of Norsk Hydro, judging that the deal would not stifle competition.

"After examining the operation, the (European) commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition," the EU antitrust watchdog said.

The two groups announced in December that state-controlled Statoil would buy the oil and gas activities of Norsk Hydro to create the world's largest offshore production group in a deal worth an estimated 23 billion euros (30 billion dollars).

Together, Norway's two largest oil groups would have combined production of 1.9 million barrels per day in 2007 and 31,000 employees, the companies said at the time.

Although Norway is not a member of the EU, it is subject to the bloc's antitrust regulations as a member of the European Economic Area, which includes the EU's 27 members, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.


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