Statoil’s decision to operate under the rebranded name Equinor has been condemned as “nothing but greenwashing” by climate activist group, Greenpeace.
The climate group accuse Statoil of attempting to hide past and current oil drilling activity with its name change to Equinor, changed so ‘oil’ would no longer appear in the company title.
Statoil said in March the move was in line with its focus on establishing itself as a “broad” energy company.
Greenpeace has accused Statoil of continuing to fuel oil drilling “in frontier areas such as the Great Australian Bight and Norway’s Barents Sea”.
The mayor of one of the Australian drilling areas in which Statoil/ Equinor intend to operate travelled to the companies AGM in Norway to read an open letter to the firm.
Peter Clements, the mayor of Kangaroo Island, situated in the Great Australian Bight, said: “Statoil is removing the ‘oil’ from their name at the same time they are trying to add risky Australian deepwater drilling projects to their portfolio and expand into the pristine Arctic waters of the Barents Sea.”
“If they truly want to be seen as a responsible energy company Statoil, Equinor, or no matter what they change their name to, must immediately abandon their plans for risky deepwater drilling in the Great Australian Bight.”
Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Campaigner, Nathaniel Pelle, yesterday warned that the proposed wells were a “time bomb waiting to explode” in the region.
He said: “Statoil’s proposed wells are in the same location as the ones BP walked away from after disastrous spill modelling rocked their bid. The chance and impact of a disastrous spill remains undiminished yet Statoil/Equinor are still intent on forging ahead ignoring the risk to the area and the concerns from the community.
“Today the communities of South Australia have sent a clear message all the way to Stavanger that they do not want accident-prone Norwegian oil giant Statoil to bring oil drilling to the Great Australian Bight – and that they stand with the Arctic communities against Statoil’s plans in the Barents Sea.
“There are already more than enough fossil fuels in existing reserves to take the world beyond the 1.5 degrees of warming outlined in the Paris Climate Accords without searching for new reserves, particularly in the pristine and biodiverse waters of the Great Australian Bight.”
Statoil/Equinor has been contracted for comment.