Equinor (formerly Statoil)

InfluenceMap Score
C-
Performance Band
66%
Organisation Score
52%
Relationship Score
Sector:
Energy
Head​quarters:
Stavanger, Norway
Brands and Associated Companies:
Statoil
Official Web Site:
Wikipedia:

Climate Lobbying Overview: Equinor appears to have become more positive on climate change policy since 2015. The company appears to be supportive of carbon pricing schemes - both carbon taxes and emissions trading schemes - and has supportive positions on some climate-related regulations, however its communications on renewable energy standards and targets appears to be more mixed. Regarding the energy mix, Equinor appears to support transitioning away from coal as well as an increased uptake of offshore wind, however, it actively lobbies for a continued role for fossil gas, as well as fossil gas-derived hydrogen.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: Equinor’s top-line messaging on climate policy appears to be wholly positive. In its 2021 climate policy position, Equinor has supported reaching net zero emissions by 2050 as well as supporting national goals to achieve this target, while also stating its support for the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, in its response to the EU Climate Law Roadmap in 2020, Equinor [881412 stated it supported the policy, which legislates a legally binding target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: Equinor’s engagement with climate-related regulations appears to be mixed. In 2019, Equinor opposed the Trump rollback of regulation on methane emissions in the US, stating that a federal regulatory ‘floor’ was important. Additionally, between 2017-2021 Equinor has supported carbon taxes, including schemes in Norway, Canada and the UK. For example, in 2020, it submitted a response to the EU's 2030 GHG target consultation in which it supported introducing a carbon tax in the buildings and road transport sector. Between 2016-2021, Equinor has also supported strengthening reforms to the EU’s emissions trading scheme and has since continued to advocate in favour of the ETS as the main policy instrument for European emission reductions. In June 2020, Equinor submitted a consultation on the EU’s 2030 target, in which it advocated for a reduction in free allowances and the strengthening of the market stability reserve, however this appeared to be at the expense of the Effort-Sharing Regulation. Equinor has additionally advocated a global emissions trading scheme in 2020 including under '722666 Article 6] of the Paris Agreement.

In 2020, Equinor has supported renewable energy legislation regarding offshore wind energy, including reform to the Investment Tax Credit and permitting processes to facilitate the development of offshore wind projects in the US, as well as the EU’s Renewable Energy Financing Mechanism in June 2020. Equinor’s position on renewable energy legislation outside offshore wind development, however, is less positive. In November 2021, Equinor submitted feedback to the EU's consultation on updating the Renewable Enegy Directive (RED), in which it appeared to advocate for low-carbon fuels in RED targets and sub-targets to be promoted. In its submission to the RED Review in June 2020, the company appeared to not support raising the 2030 renewable energy target in the EU, while also advocating for ‘non-renewable solutions’ to be included within the target. In the EU’s Clean Energy for All Europeans Package in 2019, the company advocated against renewable energy targets in heating, arguing for a ‘level playing field’ for all energy sources and technologies in EU’s heating sector, positing the current system discriminated against natural gas.

Positioning on Energy Transition: Equinor's position on the energy transition appears mixed. On the one hand, Equinor has had some positive policy engagement, particularly around transitioning away from coal. In its 2019 Sustainability Report, Equinor stated that policy measures should phase out fossil fuel subsidies that 'exacerbate climate change'. While in Equinor’s 2020 consultation on the EU’s 2030 Greenhouse Gas Target, it advocated for a fuel levy for the maritime sector while in its response to the EU’s Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy in 2021, it strongly supported the strategy as well as the development of further policy to develop offshore wind.

However, it appears that Equinor supports an increase in fossil gas to replace coal. In its June 2020 EU Climate Law submission, it appeared to support the transition from coal to fossil gas, while also suggesting that sectoral targets for renewable energy would reach their limits and that there will be an increasing need for ‘non-renewable decarbonization solutions’. Similarly, in the same month, it also advocated for the weakening of the definition for ‘sustainable gas’ in the TEN-E to include non-renewable gas in a submission on the policy. In its submission to the EPA in 2019 in which it opposed the methane regulation rollback, Equinor argued for a continued role for natural gas in the energy mix, seemingly supporting methane regulations for justification. Also in 2020, it was reported by Euractiv that Equinor lobbied EU policymakers to weaken emissions thresholds on the sustainable investment criteria under the EU's Sustainable Finance Taxonomy, in order to include attempting to secure the inclusion of unabated natural gas: Equinor signed an open letter calling for the gas market to be the 'backbone of the EU's future energy system'. This position was reaffirmed with its December 2020 consultation response on the issue, in which it appeared to support the 100gCO2e/kWh limit but appeared to advocate for the 'do no significant harm' level reduced from 270g CO2/kWh, meaning natural gas would not be considered as 'extremely harmful', which could allow natural gas to be considered via other environmental objectives in the taxonomy.

While Equinor appears to support an expanded role for hydrogen in the energy mix, it also supports a role for hydrogen derived from fossil fuels. For example, in its comments on the EU Hydrogen Strategy Roadmap, Equinor stated its support for the EU’s vision on hydrogen but also appeared to support blue hydrogen over renewable hydrogen, highlighting technical infeasibility in certain sectors. In the same response, Equinor appeared to support the ramping up of ‘low carbon’ hydrogen in the short-term without mention of CCS, while, advocating for policy that focuses on ‘decarbonization potential’ of hydrogen instead of its origin. In March 2021, the company submitted a response to the EU’s Revision of Rules on Market Access, in which it called for‘technological neutral’ support mechanisms for hydrogen development while also stressing the need to safeguard the internal gas market.

Industry Association Governance: Equinor retains membership to numerous trade associations that continue to oppose specific climate policies and regulations. In 2021, Equinor holds membership of the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) and committee membership of American Petroleum Institute (API), which lobbied in opposition to ambitious climate policy agendas on climate change. In its 2020 Industry Association review, Equinor stated it has some misalignments on climate policy with API and the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA). While it went on to leave APPEA, it remains a member of the API. In its updated 2021 Industry Association Review, it no longer indicated any misalignment with the API or any other association it holds a membership with that traditionally lobby negatively on climate policy, such as BusinessEurope, FuelsEurope and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

A detailed assessment of the company's industry association review can be found on our CA100+ webpage here.

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Strength of Relationship
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How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.