Norway’s Statoil to rename itself Equinor

The board of Statoil announced Thursday it wants to rename the firm Equinor as Norway's state-owned energy company seeks to diversify its business from the oil and gas sector.

Norway's Statoil to rename itself Equinor
File photo: Lise Åserud / NTB scanpix

Founded in 1972 to tap oil deposits found off Norway's coast, the firm has in recent years moved into renewable energy, with parks of offshore wind turbines, including in British waters.

“The world is changing, and so is Statoil,” said board chairman Jon Erik Reinhardsen in a statement. “The biggest transition our modern-day energy systems have ever seen is underway, and we aim to be at the forefront of this development.”

It said the name was created by combining “equi”, the starting point for words like equality and equilibrium, with “nor” for the firm's Norwegian origin.

The firm said it plans to devote 15 to 20 percent of investment into “new energy solutions” by 2030.

The new name will be proposed to shareholders at the annual general meeting on 15 May, but the firm said the Norwegian government, the majority shareholder with 67 percent, supports the proposal and will vote in favour of the resolution.

“The decision reflects the fact that Statoil is in the process of becoming an energy producer in a broader sense, in line with the global trend in the energy sector,” Norwegian Energy Minister Terje Søviknes told AFP in an email.

READ ALSO: Recovering oil prices fuel Statoil profits


‘Call me Equinor’: Statoil changes name

Norway's largest oil company Statoil officially changed its name to Equinor on Wednesday as it forges ahead with its drive into renewable energy.

'Call me Equinor': Statoil changes name
CEO Eldar Sætre presents the name change in Stavanger. Photo: Carina Johansen / NTB Scanpix

Proposed in March and adopted on Tuesday at the shareholders' general meeting, the name change allows the company to take a step back — at least in name — from the Norwegian state, which owns 67 percent of its shares, and from oil. 

Equinor is meant to combine the idea of equity and equilibrium (“equi”) and geographical origin (“nor”) for Norway.

Founded in 1972 to operate Norway's large oil fields, the company — which is listed on both the Oslo and New York stock exchanges — is now active in renewable energies, including wind farms off the UK coast.

The group has earmarked 15-20 percent of its investments to “new energy solutions” by 2030.

But this shift has been cold shouldered by environmentalists concerned about global warming as they accuse the company of “green washing”.

“Statoil name change to attract young talent will not be sufficient as long as Equinor is exploring in vulnerable areas, such as the Arctic or the Great Australian Bight,” tweeted Truls Gulowsen, leader for Greenpeace in Norway.

READ ALSO: Norway pledges to spend less oil money in new budget