Norwegian oil giant Equinor has today announced a new chief executive as it seeks to accelerate the transition to becoming a renewable energy focused business.
Company insider Anders Opedal, executive vice president for technology, projects and drilling, will replace Elder Saetre, a 40-year veteran of the company, in November.
The appointment comes at a time of rapid change in the oil and gas industry, with the spring’s oil price crash convincing several firms to accelerate their switch to becoming low carbon businesses.
At the head of the pack is BP, which last week promised to cut its oil production by 40 per cent by 2030 and increase its spending on renewable projects tenfold.
Other European majors such as Shell, Eni, and Total have also made similar commitments to begin reducing carbon emissions in the future.
Opedal, who was reportedly one of four candidates for the top job, released a filmed statement saying that Equinor could be one of the “leading companies” in the transition.
“We will focus and improve our oil and gas portfolio and accelerate our development of renewable energy”, he said.
In a statement, chairman Jon Erik Reinhardsen said: “Equinor is entering a phase of significant change as the world needs to take more forceful action to combat climate change.
“The board’s mandate is for Anders to accelerate our development as a broad energy company and to increase value creation for our shareholders through the energy transition.”
In his six years in charge of Equinor, Saetre oversaw two periods of extreme price volatility: back in 2014-2015, and in April and May this year.
In 2018 he changed Equinor’s name from Statoil, and was entrusted with moving the company towards a greener future.
Opedal said today that the company would seek to build new business within hydrogen, carbon capture and storage (CCS) as well as other low-carbon solutions.