August 10, 2020 Read More →

Equinor taps new CEO, sets sights on quicker green energy transition


Equinor ASA appointed its head of technology and projects, Anders Opedal, to lead the company as Eldar Saetre retires after running the Norwegian state-controlled oil major for six years.

Opedal, 52, will take over in November with a mandate to accelerate Equinor’s transformation into a broader energy company as pressure grows on the industry to act on climate change. Saetre already oversaw a step-change in focus on emissions and cleaner energy, and even changed its name from Statoil to articulate the promise of a more sustainable course.

“Equinor is entering a phase of significant change as the world needs to take more forceful action to combat climate change,” Chairman Jon Erik Reinhardsen said Monday in a statement. “Anders is the right person to further develop Equinor as a force in the green shift.”

Opedal’s promotion comes at a challenging time for the industry, which is struggling with the immediate impact of the Covid-19 crisis and the longer-term uncertainty weighing on energy. He will also need to address criticism at home over investments in U.S. shale oil by Saetre’s predecessor Helge Lund, which have led to impairments of more than $10 billion.

Equinor earlier this year boosted its climate ambitions, saying it will cut the net carbon intensity of the energy it produces by at least half by 2050, through a sharp increase in renewables output and changes in its oil and gas portfolio. Since then, rival BP Plc has upped the ante, indicating pressure on oil companies from investors and society isn’t about to abate.

“We have a great starting point for what will be a massive transition,” Opedal said. “Together, we will accelerate the development of Equinor as a broad energy company and our growth within renewables.”

[Mikael Holter and Lars Erik Taraldsen]

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