31 October 2002 – Texas energy company El Paso Corporation is seeking a joint venture for its European gas and power trading arm, a source at the company said on Tuesday.

“We are looking for a joint venture, this has been decided by our parent company in the US, it’s the result of developments in the US power market,” said the anonymous source.

“I would expect something to be finalised by the end of the year,” he said, declining to name possible partners.

El Paso’s move comes as most of its fellow US traders retreat from Europe amid a credit crisis gripping the U.S. energy industry in the wake of Enron’s collapse last year.

El Paso’s London-based European arm had a team of twelve traders, he said.

“That’s the same size team we had this time last year – there haven’t been any cuts,” said the source, referring to speculation the company had scaled down its European trading unit.

EL Paso was still trading power in the UK, France and Germany, and gas in the UK, said the source.

Meanwhile, El Paso today announced that it has accepted an unsolicited offer to sell its interest as a purchaser of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Snøhvit Project for $210m to Statoil ASA.

Statoil will assume a 17-year primary term agreement with the Snøhvit consortium to provide annual delivery of approximately 1.8 million tons of LNG for delivery at locations determined by the purchaser.

In a related transaction, Statoil North America Inc., an affiliate of Statoil, will assume El Paso’s capacity at the LNG regasification terminal in Cove Point, Maryland, which amounts to about one-third of the facility’s total capacity.