Another key argument was the need for a strong player that could develop the NCS further. Historically the sceptics argued that a merger could lead to less competition, less creativity and fewer good solutions. Still the merger received strong support when realised, because the merger would create a company with a bigger human capital, project execution capability and operator expertise, both at home and internationally. The technological expertise acquired by both companies in Norway over the past 40 years would make the merged enterprises even more competitive.
A merged company would contribute to more efficient operation and thereby extend the producing life of the NCS with higher value creation. In retrospect, no other company has invested more resources on the Norwegian continental shelf than Statoil. Following the merger, Statoil has made important discoveries, developed new projects and created more value from existing fields than most thought would be possible.
The Norwegian continental shelf remains the backbone of the company. Imagining an alternative scenario to the merger: what would have happened if Saga and Hydro had been bought up by foreign companies?
Resource rich and low carbon
The merger created a company large enough to be competitive, and the efforts to strengthen and streamline the company further continued. The company developed as a technology driven, upstream focused company, and gradually also with a growing portfolio of projects within renewable energy. The gas station chain was listed at the stock exchange as Statoil Fuel & Retail in 2010, and then delisted and sold in 2012. In 2017 it was rebranded to CircleK.
Along with the entire industry, Statoil has the last couple of years been through a challenging period with rising costs, falling prices and a surplus of oil in the market, despite growing demand. This has resulted in a new reality and new commercial framework conditions.
The merger has made Statoil stronger – financially, operationally, regarding competencies and technologically. Today Statoil is more competitive with a strong corporate culture and robust economy that is branching out into renewable energy sources, while still maintaining its core oil and gas production activities – and with continuous lower emissions. In addition, Statoil makes a massive contribution to the Norwegian public treasury: since the merger in 2007, the company has paid taxes to the public purse in Norway alone in the order of NOK 1,000 billion.