Norwegian oil and gas producer Statoil has announced that it is launching a fund that will invest up to $200mn in renewable energy within the next four to seven years.
In a statement released February 16, the company said the fund, which is called Statoil Energy Ventures, will potentially invest in areas including offshore and onshore wind, solar energy, energy storage, transportation, energy efficiency and smart grids. This ties in with its aims to “gradually complement its oil and gas portfolio with profitable renewable energy and low-carbon solutions,” the statement said.
The six-person team involved in the investments will seek opportunities on a global basis to invest in what it terms “growth companies”.
?We offer a strong financial muscle and are ready to invest in three strategic areas: Supporting our current operations in renewables, positioning in renewable growth opportunities, and exploring new high impact technologies and business models,” vice president in Statoil and managing director of Statoil Energy Ventures Gareth Burns said.
The fund will take direct positions primarily as a minority shareholder in those growth companies, “preferably as a co-investor with other venture firms,” Statoil said.
According to the statement, the new fund’s team will operate alongside Statoil?s existing venture entity, Statoil Technology Invest (STI), which focuses on early-phase investments in upstream oil and gas.
The announcement comes on the same day as the release of economic statistics by Statistics Norway, Norway’s official statistics bureau, which show a decline in the oil and gas sector in the fourth quarter compared with Q3 2015. According to those statistics, the oil, gas and shipping sector declined 5.6% in Q4 “following a strong increase in production of natural gas in the previous quarter. This led to a decline in total GDP in the fourth quarter by 1.2%,” Statistics Norway said.
Norway’s economy is heavily reliant on oil and gas production and export. According to the US Energy Information Administration, Norway is the largest holder of crude oil and natural gas reserves in Europe, and was the world’s third-largest exporter of gas in 2013, after Russia and Qatar.
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