Norwegian oil giant Equinor ASA says it has completed its exit from the Canadian oilsands by selling the 18.8 per cent stake in producer Athabasca Oil Corp. it acquired three years ago.

The Stavanger, Norway-based company, formerly known as Statoil, says it sold 100 million shares in the Calgary-based company on Tuesday for 18 cents per share or $18 million.

The shares closed at $1.66 each on Jan. 31, 2017, completion day for Statoil's sale of its Leismer thermal oilsands project and its proposed Corner oilsands project in northern Alberta in return for the shares, $435 million in cash and up to $250 million more in contingent payments based on future oil prices.

The sale of shares comes one week after Equinor said it had closed its downtown Calgary office and is moving staff to St. John's, N.L., to better focus on offshore East Coast operations. The move is expected to result in a reduction of about 30 per cent of its 120 Canadian staff in both St. John's and Calgary.

It also said it will no longer evaluate business opportunities in the onshore energy industry in Canada.

Equinor is the operator of seven discoveries offshore Newfoundland and has working interests in the Terra Nova, Hebron and Hibernia producing projects there.

"We can confirm that Equinor has sold the entire holding in Athabasca, a total of 100 million shares ... Equinor has no further interests in the Canadian oilsands," said spokesman Erik Haaland.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021.

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