Aug 10, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Oil giant Equinor names new CEO as it vows faster green shift

A view of Equinor headquarters. Photo: Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Equinor on Monday named company veteran Anders Opedal to replace CEO Eldar Sætre this fall and vowed to accelerate its diversification into climate-friendly energy.

Why it matters: The Norway-based company is among the world's largest multinational oil-and-gas companies — though smaller than super-majors like Exxon, Shell and BP.

  • The announcement comes as a bunch European-based giants are vowing to speed up their push into areas like solar power and electric-vehicle charging.
  • However, fossil fuels remain their dominant business lines and still account for the vast majority of their investments.

Where it stands: Sætre, 64, is retiring after 40 years with the company and six as CEO. He signaled months ago that he planned to step down, Equinor said.

  • His tenure included changing the company name from Statoil to Equinor to reflect its diversification efforts and a series of climate pledges.
  • Equinor vowed in February to cut carbon intensity (emissions per unit of output) by at least 50% by 2050 — a plan that includes emissions from use of its fuels in the economy.

What's next: Opedal is slated to take over in November. He's been the company's executive VP for technology, projects and drilling since 2018 and joined Equinor as an engineer in 1997.

What we're watching: Whether Opedal will quickly look to roll out new pledges and/or more details on the company's plans to speed up its renewables push.

  • In a statement, he vowed to work with colleagues to "accelerate the development of Equinor as a broad energy company and our growth within renewables."
  • Equinor's current plan, announced earlier this year, calls for expanding its renewables portfolio to reach up to 6 gigawatts by 2026 — a tenfold rise — and up to 16 gigwatts by 2035.
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