News service Aenergy reported Statoil chief executive officer Helge Lund wrote in an article in Norwegian business newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv that automation could be an important factor in fighting tough competition from low cost countries.
Lund quoted government figures that Norwegian rig costs were almost double those in other parts of the North Sea.
"[Lund] claims that highly paid, striking Norwegian oil workers could be replaced by robots," Aenergy reported.
The union representing Statoil's oil workers said the workers were "furious" about Lund's remarks and calling for his resignation.
According to Aenergy, Statoil head of media relations Jannik Lindbaek told the Aftenbladet newspaper that Lund had been misquoted.
"Helge Lund has never said that he will replace highly paid, striking oil workers with robots," Lindbaek reportedly said.
Lindbaek said Lund's comments were about technology and automation in general, not about replacing workers with robots.
Told of Statoil's defence, union representative Sten Atle Jolle was quoted by Aenergy as saying: "He can't come blaming the press after the fact. There's been no confidence in Helge Lund for the past year."
Jolle reportedly said Lund was "not communicating with any employees at Statoil for the time being," which was why the union was "using the media".
Earlier this year a Hays report said Norway's oil and gas workers were paid an average of $US180,300 per year, more than all other countries.