HOUSTON, Sept. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- International energy company Statoil (NYSE: STO) and the University of Texas at Austin (UT) have signed an Energy Partnership agreement providing the university with an annual funding of USD 1 million for 5 years. The agreement is Statoil's largest of its kind outside Norway, and UT has been chosen as the company's pilot university in the United States. "We are very pleased to enter into this agreement with UT, a world-class academic institution, renowned for its leading research and education within several important areas for us," says Bill Maloney, executive vice president for Statoil in North America. "Statoil wants to further develop its position in the market for talented women and men to join us. We plan to significantly grow our activities in the United States and Canada. Universities and academic institutions in North America represent important arenas for Statoil in research and competence development, both on a regional and global level," says Maloney. "Statoil is a world-class energy company with a commitment to research and education, and we look forward to working with them in the years to come to develop talented young people who will become the energy leaders of tomorrow," says Scott Tinker, the director of UT's Bureau of Economic Geology. He will sit on the strategic board helping to guide the program. The agreement was signed in Austin on September 19 by Statoil executive vice president Bill Maloney and UT research vice president Juan M. Sanchez. "Statoil technology is world leading in many areas. However, the oil and gas industry is changing with more complex technological challenges. Increased global focus on research and development is needed to close technological gaps. Academia agreements are of strategic importance to Statoil in order to maintain a rapid pace of technological innovation and continue developing a business mindset," says Hersvik.