Equinor faces pressure to do more on the energy transition
Minority shareholders in Norwegian energy company Equinor are calling for more ambitious steps in the energy transition, the Reuters news service reported June 14.
Jan Erik Saugestad, the head of Storebrand Asset Management, told the news service that shareholders were expecting definitive short-, medium- and long-term goals from the energy company.
"With the urgency we feel and experience on the climate-related issues, we definitely expect the strategy to be bold and to be detailed on how to reach the net zero targets," he said.
Storebrand holds a 0.5% stake in the energy company. Norwegian pension fund KLP, which holds a 0.6% stake, said it too wanted to see more determination from the company. Its strategy "still has potential to become more science-based considering how the company can achieve net-zero by 2050,” the fund said.
The Norwegian company in 2018 changed its name from Statoil to Equinor, a now common move in the industry to remove any references to oil in corporate identities. And while Norway is a major oil and gas producer, its own economy runs mostly on renewable energy resources.
Apart from minority shareholders, Equinor CEO Anders Opedal is facing pressure from Norwegian lawmakers to do more on arresting climate change. Opedal is continuing Equinor’s legacy of expanding its footprint in renewable energy, but the company still envisions gains in both crude oil and natural gas production through 2026.
Equinor in April said it would submit its energy transition plan for an advisory shareholder vote at its annual general meeting every three years beginning in 2022.
Equinor noted it was among the first companies in the oil and gas industry to introduce such a measure. The company announced last November its "ambition" to produce net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, by expanding its renewable energy capacity to 12-16 GW by 2035 and by investing in hydrogen and carbon, capture and storage.
"Accelerated growth in renewables, new low carbon solutions and an optimised oil and gas portfolio with low emissions are key pillars in our energy transition strategy and our commitment to bold climate ambitions," Opedal said at the time.