Statoil says its Alberta sell-off doesn't signal that it plans to sell assets in Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore oil industry too.

The Norwegian oil giant has announced a deal worth hundreds of millions of dollars to sell its northern Alberta oilsands operations to Calgary-based Athabasca Oil Corp. 

"This is part of our global portfolio adjustment. We continually optimize our portfolio and focus our capital on our core activities," said Statoil's Canadian president Paul Fulton.

Paul Fulton president Statoil Canada

Paul Fulton, the president of Statoil Canada, says 'Newfoundland and Labrador is an important part of our global portfolio.' (Terry Roberts/CBC)

"Newfoundland and Labrador is an important part of our global portfolio. We continue to work with our assets in the province," said Fulton, adding a word of caution.

"This doesn't represent any view on the province. We continue to develop our assets in Newfoundland but this will not trigger additional spending in the province that depends on how well we are able to develop the assets there."

'Significant investment' in Flemish Pass

In St. John's, the Newfoundland & Labrador Oil & Gas Industries Association (NOIA) said it's confident the Alberta sale isn't bad news for the offshore oil industry.

'Statoil very committed to our offshore.' - Bob Cadigan

"Statoil has pointed to Newfoundland and Labrador as one of its key strategic areas to invest and to explore and we understand that that commitment is still solid," said NOIA president Bob Cadigan.

"They've made adjustments in their Canadian operations but Statoil has a significant investment in the Flemish Pass and I think they share, along with the other investors on the parcels, close to a billion dollars in exploration commitments. So, certainly they are very committed to our offshore."

Statoil offshore Canada Newfoundland map

A map showing Statoil interests in the east coast offshore. (Statoil)

Cadigan said that as oil projects go the oilsands are much greater carbon producers than offshore projects.

He said that may be playing into Statoil's decision to continue focusing on projects here and shift away from Alberta.

"So we've got what are perceived to be very high quality resource that really does fit even in a world moving away from carbon resources over time," said Cadigan.