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The sum of several Norwegian companies and joint efforts

The Equinor story is also the story of Statoil, Norsk Hydro and Saga Petroleum. This is how they together became the largest energy company in Norway and the Nordic region.

1969 – The starting shot

An autumn day in 1969 the US company Phillips Petroleum, chartering the Ocean Viking drilling rig, makes a giant discovery. The field they discover, named Ekofisk, turns out to be one of the largest offshore petroleum fields in the world, some 3000 metres below the seabed.

This was a turning point in Norwegian history – and the starting shot for the Equinor story.

1972 – The black gold

The Norwegian privately owned oil company Saga Petroleum was established in 1972. The same year, the State established the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate and Den norske stats oljeselskap, abbreviated Statoil (the current Equinor).

This started a new era for Norway and for Europe, which would get access to large volumes of energy from the north.

1970s – employment skyrockets

During its very first year of existence Statoil acquired ownership interests in the pipeline network from Ekofisk to the UK and to Germany. The following year, in 1974, the Statfjord field was discovered in the northern part of the North Sea.

Driven by exploration successes, employment skyrockets. In 1973 the company had two employees, whereas in early 1974 this had increased to 54 employees. In 1980, 1000 people were on Statoil payroll.

The 1980s – becoming an energy major

The 1980s turn into a decade of strong growth with discoveries and development of large fields on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS), such as Gullfaks, Oseberg, Snorre and Troll.

Statoil becomes an energy major in the European gas market, securing large sales agreements, which trigger comprehensive development and operation of gas transportation systems and terminals. During the decade the oil company also established a comprehensive petrol station network in Norway, Scandinavia, and several European countries.

During the 1980s, Statoil establishes a vast network of petrol stations in Norway and several other countries.

2001 – acquiring important expertise

The Equinor success story is also a story about competition and collaboration between Saga, Hydro and Statoil.

Saga, the smallest of the three companies, experiences problems due to the oil price collapse in 1998. Statoil, which already had a 20 percent ownership interest, signs an agreement with Hydro about Saga acquisition. On 10 January 2001 Saga’s ownership interests and operatorships are transferred to Norsk Hydro and Statoil also gaining value experience from operations outside the NCS.

2001 – listed on the stock exchange

The same year Statoil is listed on Oslo Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange. This opens a new chapter of the company’s history.

As a result of considerable investments on the NCS and internationally Statoil grows at a record rate: new business is added in Algeria, Azerbaijan, the Gulf of Mexico, Nigeria, Angola, and several other countries.

2007 – a historic merger

The full potential on the NCS is sharply strengthened through the merger between Statoil and Hydro’s oil and gas division on 1 October 2007, making the two companies a leading offshore operator globally.

This way the three Norwegian oil companies first became one oil giant, StatoilHydro, then again became Statoil, and later Equinor.

2018 – the current Equinor

In May 2018 Statoil annual general meeting votes to change the company name to Equinor to better reflect the company evolution and identity as a company for generations to come. The company no longer stands for the State and oil only, but also for a targeted focus on renewable energy.

As one of the largest suppliers of oil and gas in the world with more than 20 000 employees, Equinor is transitioning into a substantially growing energy company. The company has a solid portfolio of projects associated with renewable energy, including offshore wind, large-scale solutions for CO₂ transportation and storage, and the development of new carbon-free energy carriers, such as hydrogen.

From the establishment of a Norwegian oil and gas company to the development of an international energy company; none of this would have been possible without cooperation. Today, more than 8000 suppliers contribute everything from new expertise and technology to new industrial solutions and securing jobs. This excellent and important cooperation has been crucial for the first 50 years of our history, and will continue to be an essential factor in realising our ambition of achieving net zero in 2050.

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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