Statoil’s rebranding as Equinor is part of its wider efforts to present itself as a ”clean” oil company. But like BP and Shell, it is part of industry lobbying groups that are pushing for access to ever riskier and dirtier fuels and blocking cleaner alternatives.
Research in 2013 found that Statoil had spent $5.5 million on lobbying in the US since 2001, and around €0.9 million on EU lobbying in just one year. By 2016, its EU spending had tripled to €2.75 million, making it one of the top ten gas lobbyists in Europe. The European gas lobby is pushing for new gas pipelines and power plants that would ‘lock in’ the use of this fossil fuel for decades, making it more difficult for renewables to get off the ground.
In the US, Statoil/Equinor is a member of the American Petroleum Institute (API), an organisation that spends around $65 million per year on obstructing climate action, electing oil-friendly politicians and pushing for access to new extreme energy frontiers including fracking and Arctic drilling. The API has enjoyed privileged access to US decision-makers for decades, and has had particular success with lobbying Donald Trump’s White House.