Statoil Removes "Oil" From its Name

Image courtesy Statoil

Published May 15, 2018 3:33 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Wednesday morning, Norwegian oil major Statoil will formally remove "oil" from its name. It will henceforth be known as Equinor.

"A name with 'oil' as a component would increasingly be a disadvantage. None of our competitors has that. It served us really well for 50 years, I don't think it will be the best name for the next 50 years," said CEO Eldar Sætre, speaking to Reuters. The firm says that in surveys, young Norwegians responded more positively to the new name, which may help with recruiting in future years. 

Norway's goverment - which owns two thirds of Statoil - and other shareholders ratified the change on Tuesday evening, according to local media. Statoil's unions, including SAFE, NITO, Tekna, Lederne and Industri Energi, have already given their approval. 

Statoil announced its plans for the name change in March. According to Wood Mac analyst Norman Valentine, it is a reflection of the difference in strategy between the other oil majors and Statoil under Sætre's leadership. Offshore wind is a growing new component of the Norwegian firm's business, and it has synergies with Statoil's history of offshore expertise. 

Statoil's revenue still derives almost exclusively from oil and gas activity, including its Norwegian offshore, international E&P, midstream and downstream businesses. From a public relations perspective, the name change may help to deemphasize certain aspects of Statoil's drilling program, refocusing attention on its renewable energy portfolio and its status as one of the world's least carbon-intensive oil producers instead. Statoil is committed to controversial oil and gas projects in the Arctic and the Great Australian Bight, but it also intends to invest up to one fifth of its capex on alternative energy sources within 12 years. Current and prospective wind projects include Hywind Scotland, the world's first floating commercial wind farm, and the proposed Empire Wind off Long Island, which would provide about 1 GW of power for New York.