Norwegian multinational oil and gas company Statoil has announced its intention this week to change its name to Equinor, as part of a growing trend of fossil fuel-reliant companies looking to diversify their holdings and change their name to reflect the changing times.
Statoil’s board of directors announced its intention on Thursday to change the name of the company to Equinor — which “is formed by combining “equi,” the starting point for words like equal, equality and equilibrium, and “nor,” signalling a company proud of its Norwegian origin, and who wants to use this actively in its positioning.
“The world is changing, and so is Statoil,” explained chair of the board in Statoil, Jon Erik Reinhardsen. “The biggest transition our modern-day energy systems have ever seen is underway, and we aim to be at the forefront of this development. Our strategy remains firm. The name Equinor reflects ongoing changes and supports the always safe, high value and low carbon strategy we outlined last year.”
This is not the first nor the last time a fossil fuel company has recently changed its name to better reflect its goals of partaking in the global transition to a low-carbon economy and away from reliance upon fossil fuels. The most recent and consequential was the October 2017 decision by DONG Energy to change its name to Ørsted following in the wake of its successful decision to divest itself of its oil & gas business.
More simply, a name like “Statoil” was not going to survive for long in this low-carbon economy environment, where the word “oil” is, like its namesake, a dirty word. One need only look at BP’s insistence that it be called BP instead of British Petroleum. As more fossil fuel companies begin to diversify their portfolios to support and include renewable energy projects, so too will the name changes increase.
It’s a small win, but a win nonetheless.
“For us, this is a historic day. Statoil has for almost 50 years served us well,” added Statoil’s President and CEO Eldar Sætre. “Looking towards the next 50 years, reflecting on the global energy transition and how we are developing as a broad energy company, it has become natural to change our name. The name Equinor captures our heritage and values, and what we aim to be in the future.”
The board of directors will propose the name change to the shareholders at its Annual General Meeting held on May 15 with the knowledge that the Norwegian Government, which serves as majority shareholder, supports the proposal and will vote in favor of the name change.
“Equinor is a powerful expression of who we are, where we come from and what we aspire to be,” concluded Sætre. “We are a values-based company, and equality describes how we want to approach people and the societies where we operate. The Norwegian continental shelf will remain the backbone of our company, and we will use our Norwegian heritage in our positioning as we continue growing internationally within both oil, gas and renewable energy.”