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The story of a new name

Changing the company name from Statoil to Equinor became CEO Eldar Sætre’s most emotional decision ever. But the name change was both important and right.

The day before 17 May 2018 – Norway’s Constitution Day – the story of Norway’s largest company took a new turn. After 46 years with “Statoil” as part of the name, the general meeting adopted a new, more comprehensive name. Statoil was no longer to be called Statoil. It would be called Equinor.

Almost as long as the Statoil name had existed, the CEO at the time, Eldar Sætre, had worked with the company. He loved the company, its name, and all the expertise, history and identity that came with it. Changing the company name was not an easy decision. “Equinor” had to say something about who the company is, what it does and where it is going in the future.

The Equi-part of the name contained so much

Eldar SætreFormer CEO and President of Equinor

Although “Statoil” was a good name ever since its creation in 1972, the world and the company were in the midst of an enormous change. In 2018, Statoil was more than just a state-owned oil company. The plans for the future encompassed much more than fossil energy.

The choice fell on a name that describes something more than oil. The name hints at a desire to help shape the future and to be competitive in a society with lower emissions. Not least, the name points to values and about where the company comes from.

The Equinor name is divided in two: The first part originates from words such as “equal”, “equality”, and “equilibrium”. This reflects values ​​such as equality and balance. The second part signals a company proud of its Norwegian origins that wants to use this actively in its positioning.

Something to be proud of

Change is always tricky. That was also the case for Eldar Sætre until the name change occurred on 16 May 2018. But he gradually became more and more comfortable with “Equinor”.

“The name really started to work for me. I thought: it has taken me some time. It’s going to take some time out there, too. But I knew that if we gave it some time and got through the first phase, it would be a name that could work and that people could be proud of,” said Sætre.

An emotional decision

Sætre referred to the decision to change the name of the company as the “most emotional decision” he has ever made. It is now well over four years since the name change. And since then, Equinor has gradually moved forward towards the future and the ambition to reach net zero emissions in 2050.

In addition to being a significant supplier of energy – especially through the export of gas to Europe – Equinor is now positioning itself within offshore wind, solar energy, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage. This diversity of businesses reflects a company in continuous change – and shows why it was important and correct to change the name.

This is one of many stories from our first 50 years. It is also part of the story of how we will succeed with the energy transition.

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