In a huge shift, Norway's Statoil will remove the word 'oil' from its name

  • Statoil's name will change to Equinor, under proposals from its board of directors.
  • The energy giant's majority shareholder, the Norwegian government, is in favour of the change.
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Energy giant Statoil's board of directors has proposed changing the company's name to Equinor.

The new name combines "equi" — which the business said was the starting point for words such as equality and equilibrium — and "nor," which reflects its Norwegian heritage.

"For us, this is an historic day," Eldar Saetre, Statoil's president and CEO, said in a statement Thursday. "Statoil has for almost 50 years served us well."

"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 name Equinor will be proposed to shareholders at the company's annual general meeting on May 15. Statoil's majority shareholder, the Norwegian government, is to vote in favour of the resolution. The five unions that represent and organize Statoil employees also said that they supported the proposed name change.

Statoil has stated that its ambition is to be the world's "most carbon-efficient oil and gas producer." It is also developing renewable energy projects across the globe and expects to invest 15 to 20 percent of total capex in "new energy solutions" by the year 2030. In October, the business announced that Hywind Scotland, the world's first floating wind farm, had started to send electricity to the Scottish grid.

"As we position ourselves for long-term value creation and to be competitive also in a low carbon future, we have been searching for a name that captures our heritage and values, and at the same time reflects the opportunities we see," Saetre said. "I am confident that the name Equinor will support our strategy and vision to shape the future of energy."

Statoil is the latest big energy business to change its name. Danish energy powerhouse Orsted, for example, was previously known as Dong Energy, with the Dong originally referring to Danish Oil and Natural Gas. That all changed in October. With the business moving towards green energy – it said it would be coal free by the year 2023 – and divesting its upstream oil and gas business, it said that its old name was "no longer suitable for the company."