Equinor (formerly Statoil)

InfluenceMap Score
C
Performance Band
67%
Organisation Score
53%
Relationship Score
Sector:
Energy
Head​quarters:
Stavanger, Norway
Brands and Associated Companies:
Statoil
Official Web Site:
Wikipedia:

Climate Lobbying Overview: Equinor appears to have mixed engagement on climate policy, with improved positions on carbon taxes and emissions trading schemes in recent years. However, its communications on renewable energy legislation is more mixed, and the company actively lobbies for a continued role for fossil gas in the energy mix.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: Equinor’s top-line messaging on climate policy appears to be broadly positive. In its 2021 Climate Policy Position, Equinor supported reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, as well as supporting national goals to achieve this target. In the same document, Equinor also stated its support for the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, in its response to the EU Climate Law Roadmap in 2020, Equinor stated that it supported the policy, which legislates a legally binding target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Through its company website in November 2021, Equinor has stated support for carbon pricing and called for more governments to put the policy in place.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: Equinor’s engagement with climate-related regulations appears to be mixed. 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 (ETS) and has since continued to advocate in favor 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 under the EU ETS. However, this appeared to be at the expense of the Effort-Sharing Regulation. Equinor has additionally advocated for a global emissions trading scheme in 2020 including 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 its submission to the Renewable Energy Directive Review in June 2020, the company appeared unsupportive of raising the 2030 renewable energy target in the EU, while also advocating for ‘non-renewable solutions’ to be included within the target. In the US In 2019, Equinor opposed the Trump administration’s rollback of regulation on methane emissions in the US, stating that a federal regulatory ‘floor’ was important.

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 response to the EU’s Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy in September 2021, it strongly supported the strategy as well as the development of further policy to develop offshore wind. Further, in its 2019 Sustainability Report, published in March 2020, Equinor stated that policy measures should phase out fossil fuel subsidies that 'exacerbate climate change'. In Equinor’s 2020 consultation on the EU’s 2030 Greenhouse Gas Target, the company advocated for a fuel levy for the maritime sector.

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 .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 secure the inclusion of unabated fossil gas. 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 fossilgas would not be considered as 'extremely harmful', which could allow fossil 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 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. In its June 2020 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 feasibility concerns 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.

Industry Association Governance: Equinor retains membership to numerous industry associations that continue to oppose specific climate policies and regulations. Equinor holds membership of the National Association of Manufacturers and committee membership of American Petroleum Institute (API), which have 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 the company has left 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.

Additional Note: Equinor is a listed company with more than 50% of its shares owned by the government of Norway. State-owned enterprises likely retain channels of direct and private engagement with government officials that InfluenceMap is unable to assess, and therefore are not represented in Equinor's engagement intensity metric.

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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.