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Our history

Towing of the Gullfaks C platform to the field in 1984
Photo: Leif Berge
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Our history in brief

Equinor, formerly known as Statoil, is a key player in the Norwegian petroleum industry. Founded in 1972 by the Norwegian government, our original purpose was to manage the country’s vast oil and gas resources. Since then, we have played a pivotal role in the development of Norway’s hydrocarbon sector, fuelling economic growth and providing substantial revenue to the state. Through exploration, development, and production of oil and gas, we have contributed significantly to Norway’s status as a leading oil and gas exporter.

Statoil and Equinor

Explore the history of Norway’s most valuable company in this comprehensive and exciting interactive website created by the team of historians at The Norwegian Petroleum Museum (NPM).

Five decades of progress

Statoil, the Norwegian State petroleum company, was formed by a decision of the Norwegian parliament to be the government’s commercial instrument in the development of the oil and gas industry in Norway. Five decades later, our company has become the largest supplier of energy to Europe, a world-leading offshore operator, the largest oil and gas operator in Norway, and an international pioneer in renewables and low-carbon solutions. In 2018, we changed our name to Equinor.

Overview of 5 different logos from 1972 to 2018

Statoil and Equinor’s history

Equinor, formerly Statoil, has grown up along with the emergence of the Norwegian oil and gas industry, and dating back to the late 1960s. Today, we are evolving into a broad energy major, with a significant and growing renewables business.

We were formed in 1972 as the Norwegian State Oil Company, Statoil, and two years later the Statfjord field was discovered in the North Sea. In 1979, the Statfjord field commenced production, and in 1981 we were the first Norwegian company to be given operator responsibility for a field, at Gullfaks in the North Sea.

We grew substantially in the 1980s through the development of large fields on the NCS (Statfjord, Gullfaks, Oseberg, Troll and others). We also became a major player in the European gas market by securing large sales contracts for the development and operation of gas transport systems and terminals. During the same decade, we were involved in manufacturing and marketing in Scandinavia and established a comprehensive network of service stations.

Since 2000, our business has grown as a result of substantial investments on the NCS and internationally. In 2001, we were listed on the Oslo and New York Stock Exchanges—beginning a new era in the group's history. We expanded into Algeria, Azerbaijan, the Gulf of Mexico, Nigeria and Angola, among others.

Our ability to fully realise the potential of the NCS was strengthened through the merger with Hydro's oil and gas division on 1 October 2007, making us the world's largest offshore operator. After the merger we became a partner in Brazil's Peregrino field, and later operator. We delivered the world’s longest multiphase pipelines on the Ormen Lange and Snøhvit gas fields, and the giant Ormen Lange development project was completed.

In recent years, we have utilised our expertise to design and manage operations in various environments in order to grow our upstream activities outside our traditional area of offshore production. This includes the development of heavy oil and shale gas projects.

Equinor, formerly known as Statoil, has been one of the most important players in the Norwegian oil industry, and has contributed strongly to make Norway into a modern industrial nation. Today, Norway is one of the world's most productive petroleum provinces and a test lab for technology development.

In 2010, we carried out an initial public offering of Statoil Fuel & Retail ASA on the Oslo stock exchange (Oslo Børs), partially divesting and reducing our interest in the business relating to service stations. In 2012, we sold all of our remaining shares in Statoil Fuel & Retail ASA to Alimentation Couche-Tard, who rebranded the service stations to Circle K in 2016.

We are investing actively in new energy, such as offshore wind, and solar energy, in order to expand energy production, strengthen energy security and combat adverse climate change.

In May 2018, our Annual General Meeting voted to change the company name to Equinor to better reflect our evolution and identity as a company for the generations to come.

In 2022, Equinor celebrated 50 years.

What’s in a name? The story of how we became Equinor

Stories from our first 50 years

Discover the stories behind the headlines. Explore our magazine for stories from our first 50 years as a company.

Looking for historical documentation about Equinor/Statoil?

Since the establishment of Statoil in 1972 it has been important for the company to preserve its history through written and electronic documentation.

The Corporate historical archive contains documentation of genuine significance, and we are working to make this available for research and other uses.

As of today, our Corporate historical archive contains almost two kilometres of documentation, in addition to the tens of thousands of photos, films, reports, drawings and other data that the Corporate historical archive has access to.

The documentation is available on a case-to-case basis and by prior appointment. We welcome your inquiry.

Contact details

For documents related to the corporate historical archive of Equinor, please see Arkivportalen. This is a national search service representing a diversity of Norwegian archive institutions, including Statsarkivet, where Equinor's corporate historical documents are stored. The page is in Norwegian only, but search can be done in English.