History of Statoil (1972–2007)

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This article is about the company's history prior to the merger with Norsk Hydro. For the current company, see Statoil.
Statoil ASA
Industry Oil and gas
Fate merged with Norsk Hydro division
Successors StatoilHydro
Founded 14 July 1972
Defunct 1 October 2007
Headquarters Stavanger, Norway
Products Oil
Natural gas
Petrochemicals
A Statoil petrol station sign in Estonia

Statoil ASA is a Norwegian petroleum company established in 1972. It merged with the oil and gas division of Norsk Hydro in 2007 and was known as StatoilHydro until 2009, when the name was changed back to Statoil ASA. The brand Statoil was retained as a chain of fuel stations owned by StatoilHydro. Statoil is the largest petroleum company in the Nordic countries and Norway's largest company, employing over 25,000 people. While Statoil is listed on both the Oslo Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange, the Norwegian state still holds majority ownership, with 64%. The company's headquarters are located in Norway's oil capital Stavanger. The name Statoil is a truncated form of the State's oil (company).

Statoil is one of the largest net sellers of crude oil in the world, and a major supplier of natural gas to the European continent, Statoil also operates around 2000 service stations in 9 countries. The company's CEO from mid-2004 onwards is Helge Lund, formerly CEO of Aker Kværner.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

Den Norske Stats Oljeselskap A/S (Norwegian State Oil Company) was founded as a private limited company owned by the Government of Norway on 14 July 1972 by a unanimous act passed by the Norwegian parliament Stortinget. The political motivation was Norwegian participation in the oil industry on the continental shelf and to build up Norwegian competency within the petroleum industry to establish the foundations of a domestic petroleum industry. Statoil was required to discuss important issues with the Minister of Industry, later Minister of Petroleum and Energy. Statoil was also required to submit an annual report to the parliament.

In 1973 the company started work acquiring a presence in the petrochemical industry. This resulted in the development of processing plants in Rafsnes and, in partnership with Norsk Hydro, the Mongstad plant in 1980. In 1981 the company acquired, as the first Norwegian company, operator rights on the Norwegian continental shelf on the Gullfaks field. 1987–88 saw the largest scandal in the companies history, the Mongstad scandal that made the until then unassailable CEO Arve Johnsen withdraw.

Privatization[edit]

The company was privatised and made a public limited company (allmennaksjeselskap) in 2001, becoming listed on both the Oslo Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange. At the same time it changed its name to Statoil ASA.

Merger with Hydro[edit]

Main article: StatoilHydro

In December 2006 Statoil revealed a proposal to merge with the oil business of Norsk Hydro, a Norwegian conglomerate.[1] Under the rules of the EEA the proposal was approved by the European Union on 3 May 2007[2] and by the Norwegian Parliament on 8 June 2007.[3] Former Statoil's shareholders hold 67.3% of the new company StatoilHydro, which started operations on 1 October 2007.[2][3] The company is the biggest offshore oil and gas company in the world.[3]

In November 2009, StatoilHydro changed its name to simply Statoil, following a prolonged name debate that sparked considerable public interest.

Environmental record[edit]

Statoil had three oil spills in Arctic waters near Norway. All the spills occurred from its ocean rig called the Erik Raude. The company was searching for oil in the region, which environmentalists were against because they wanted the sensitive area free from pollution. However, the Norwegian government allowed oil exploration, as long as there were no emissions.[4] After the merger to StatoilHydro, in December 2007, 25,000 barrels (4,000 m3) of oil leaked into the North Sea. This was Statoil’s 2nd worst oil spill.[5] Two leaks also occurred in February 2008. In March, Statoil dropped about 1.6 tons of pure hydraulic oil in the Barents Sea. Hydraulic oil is said to be the 2nd most hazardous pollutant.[6] Since the leaks, Statoil has stated that the oil has mostly dissolved, and there is not much proof of ecological harm. The Norwegian government has not stopped the oil drilling in the Arctic waters, and Statoil started up its oil operations in April.[4] Bellona, a Norwegian environmental group, is looking to take legal action. They want the end of oil drilling in the Barents Sea.[6]

Controversy and corruption[edit]

Rotvoll controversy[edit]

Main article: Rotvoll controversy

In 1991 there arose a controversy between Statoil and local environmentalists, mainly from Natur og Ungdom and Friends of the Earth Norway, who protested the building of a new research and development centre at Rotvoll in Trondheim, Norway, wetlands area close to the city with significant bird life. The controversy was climaxed with civil disobedience by the environmentalists, but the centre was still built.

Statoil corruption case[edit]

Further information: Statoil corruption case

The Statoil corruption case refers to the company's misconduct and use of corruption in Iran in 2002/2003 in an attempt to secure lucrative oil contracts in that country. This was mainly achieved by hiring the services of Horton Investments, an Iranian consultancy firm owned by Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani, son of former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani. Horton Investments was paid US$ 15.2 million by Statoil to influence important political figures in Iran to grant oil contracts to Statoil. The corruption scandal was uncovered by Norwegian paper Dagens Næringsliv on 3 September 2003.

Corrib gas project[edit]

Main article: Corrib gas project

Statoil was a partner of Royal Dutch Shell in the Corrib gas project, which entails developing a natural gas field off the west of Ireland. The project has proved controversial. In the summer of 2005, five men from County Mayo were jailed for contempt of court after refusing to obey a temporary court injunction forbidding them to interfere with work being undertaken on their land. The ensuing protests led to the Shell to Sea campaign that opposes the project.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hydro's oil and gas activities to merge with Statoil, Norsk Hydro, published 2006-12-18, accessed 20 June 2007
  2. ^ a b EU regulators approve Statoil, Norsk Hydro merger, EU Business, published 2007-05-03, accessed 20 June 2007
  3. ^ a b c Norwegian Parliament Okays Statoil-Hydro Merger, Ocean-Resources, published 2007-06-11, accessed 20 June 2007
  4. ^ a b Environmental News Network (13 April 2005). "Norway's Statoil Shuts Down Oil Drilling Rig After Arctic Oil Spill". 
  5. ^ Reuters (14 December 2007). "North Sea oil spill off Norway largely "dissolved"". 
  6. ^ a b Aftenposten (13 April 2005). "Bellona files charges after oil spill". 

External links[edit]