StatoilHydro posted worse-than-expected second-quarter results, reporting zero net profits, but maintained its investment plans in spite of tough market conditions.

Hit by high tax rates, Norway’s oil and gas giant posted a zero net profit for the three months to end-June, missing a NKr7.1bn ($1.18bn) profit average forecast in a Reuters poll of 26 analysts, according to the news agency.

Earnings before interest and taxes fell 61% to NKr24.3bn in April-June, lagging market consensus at 28.7bn. Adjusted EBIT was just ahead of forecasts at NKr29.2bn.

StatoilHydro maintained its 2009 capex plans of about $13.5bn, including $2.7bn in exploration spending.

In a statement chief executive Helge Lund said that the global outlook was less pessimistic but that “uncertainty remains high”.

“We therefore continue to focus on operational efficiency and capital discipline, and we have the flexibility to adjust our activity level according to market development,” Lund said.

StatoilHydro’s production came just ahead of forecasts at 1.73m barrels of oil equivalent per day in the quarter, against expectations of 1.72m, wrote Reuters.