Statkraft said the companies would study four river systems in Sweden where hygiene consumer goods and paper manufacturer SCA has waterfall rights. It said the rivers are Ammeran in Jamtland, Roan, a tributary to Angermanalven, Edsoxforsen in Harkan and Byske alv.

No details were disclosed about potential hydro power capacities, numbers of plants, annual energy output, costs or the investment split.

In a statement, Statkraft said: ‘In practice, hydro power development has been at a standstill for the past 25 years. We have respect for the major environmental values in untouched river systems, but we believe that it should be possible to examine the possibilities for environmental-friendly development.’

Statkraft and SCA have also signed a 10 year power supply deal for the utility to supply 500GWh annually to the industrial group’s Swedish operations within the forest industry.