Norwegian Statoil: step by step towards renewable energy
The Norwegian state oil company has taken part in the Apodi solar project in Brazil. However, the company’s capital invested in renewable energy is still a small part of its collective investment. Statoil and Scatec Solar will each have a 40% and will be responsible for building, operating and maintaining the Apodi project in Brazil. This is Statoil’s first solar project. The curtain has risen in October and according to the plan, the solar park will start supplying electricity by the end of 2018.
To access the Apodi project, Statoil has to pay 25 million USD. The economy of the project is guaranteed by Brazilian authorities.
Statoil should renew
So far, Statoil’s renewable energy investment has been offshore windpower – an industry with many similarities with oil and gas. Solar energy is something else. Statoil could never have started a solar energy project without the supply of the new expertise. Another option to start a spade-clear project with one experienced player like Scatec Solar, would be to buy them up, as Total did with SunPower.
While the best years of oil and gas are over, and windpower is only relevant to coastline countries, solar energy is expected to grow and become the largest and most important renewable energy source globally. The fact, that Statoil shows signs that they also want a piece of this cake, is very positive. The question is what will follow this action.
Statoil’s investments in the so called New Energy Solutions are now about $ 4 billion annually, tweeted Sustainability Director Bjørn Otto Sverdrup. It’s a lot of money – especially on a Norwegian scale.
But 4 billion norwegian krone is not so much when you consider the fact, that Statoil’s annual investment budget is around 90 billion krone (approximately 11 billion dollar).
4 billion is also the average the company has invested in the last five years in renewable energy. Stavanger Aftenblad has estimated that, Statoil invested a total of 20 billion kronor in renewable energy between 2012 and 2016. The total investments for the same period is 550 billion krone.
This was evident when the Danish oil and gas industry – known as DONG Energy – changed its name to Ørsted as a result of the company’s strategic shift from fossil to renewable energy. With the current development speed of Statoil, it’s a long journey til they can do the same. Even if the company keeps its promise to quadruplicate the level of renewable energy investment by 2030, the company will be able to channel only 80-85 percent of the investment budget in a fossil direction. It isn’t something to brag about.