STAVANGER, NORWAY--Norwegian oil giant Statoil is reviewing communications support in key markets, drawing interest from a number of global PR networks.

The process comes after the company conducted a 'prequalification' RFI last year, covering its entire marketing communications mandate.

The Holmes Report understands that the consequent corporate communications brief covers five primary markets - Germany, UK, US, Canada and Norway - along with several 'second-tier' countries. 

According to sources, the review for the world's eleventh largest energy player focuses in particular on corporate and financial communications, CSR and public affairs. Statoil is one of three oil companies being investigated by the EU for manipulating oil prices after being sued in a class-action lawsuit in the US.

Statoil VP of media relations Jannik Lindbæk jr confirmed that the company is at an early phase in a "procurement process aimed at meeting our need for consultancy services within the area of corporate communication"

The company has worked with Hill + Knowlton Strategies in the past, across several markets.

Formed in 2007 by a merger of Statoil and the oil and gas division of Norsk Hydro, Statoil's majority shareholder is the Norwegian government, which holds a 67 percent stake.

Like many energy players, it has faced its share of environmental scrutiny, which is likely to increase as it steps up Artic drilling plans.

The company is described by the Wall Street Journal as a "dominant" presence in energy exploration and production in Arctic waters, particularly in the Barents sea, where it is stepping up drilling plans.

Statoil also operates an offshore gas-production facility within the Arctic Circle, and has signed Arctic exploration deals with a number of major energy companies.

The energy industry's Arctic exploration ambitions are vigorously opposed by Greenpeace, which has launched a campaign to protect the region from oil drilling.