May 10, 2023

Valentina Stackl, Oil Change International Media Officer,

Analysis: Equinor’s Record Profits Fuel Oil and Gas Expansion, Not Clean Energy Transition
The Norwegian company invested 28 dollars into oil and gas for every one dollar invested in renewables in 2022

WASHINGTON, DC — Ahead of the Equinor shareholder meeting on May 10th, Oil Change International released a briefing exposing the Norwegian company’s fossil-fueled energy strategy as grossly misaligned with global efforts to stem the climate crisis. The analysis, Big Oil Reality Check: Equinor, details how the company lacks credible climate pledges and continues to prioritize oil and gas investments and fossil fuel extraction expansion.

Equinor plans to increase its oil and gas production by 3 percent in 2023, and for its 2030 production “to be on par with today,” according to CEO Anders Opedal. Equinor is on track to rank eighth among companies globally in 2023 by volume of new oil and gas reserves approved for development. Worse, Equinor is on pace to approve 500 million barrels of new oil and gas reserves for development on average per year between 2023 and 2030. As a result of Equinor’s continued investment in oil and gas expansion, the carbon emissions caused when burning its oil and gas production could increase 10 percent by 2030, relative to 2020 levels.

Equinor announced record profits of USD $28.7 billion in February 2023, more than triple its 2021 profits. The profits announcement made no mention of the over 254 million tonnes (Mt) of climate pollution that it has reported generating from its oil and gas production in 2022. What’s more, Equinor’s own emissions reporting omits a large portion of its oil and gas sales, so its total climate pollution in 2022 was even greater.

Silje Lundberg, Oil Change International Senior Campaigner, said:

“Equinor’s strategies are in stark contrast to the ‘code red’ alarm sounded by the world’s leading climate scientists demanding immediate and rapid action to phase out fossil fuels to hold global warming to 1.5ºC.

“Equinor used these record profits to invest 28 times more into oil and gas exploration and production than into its renewable energy business segment in 2022. This undercuts Equinor’s misleading claims about leading in the energy transition. Instead of financing clean, renewable energy, Equinor has pumped money into more and gas production – and also rewarded corporate shareholders with an estimated 13 times more in dividends and share buy-backs than it invested in renewables in 2022.”

Kelly Trout, Oil Change International Research Co-Director, said: 

“Equinor must act in accordance with the IPCC’s recommendations and take immediate action to phase out its oil and gas production. As the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report underlines, global fossil fuel use must decline substantially by 2030 to limit warming to 1.5ºC. In this context, Equinor’s climate pledges and plans remain grossly insufficient. The time for action is now, and Equinor must prioritize people over profits with a just transition away from oil and gas production.”

Karoline Andaur, CEO at WWF-Norway

“Even though Equinor spends huge sums of money on marketing itself as a green company, the report from OCI shows that it is in fact not planning to transform itself into a renewable company at the speed necessary to avoid climate disaster. On the contrary, Equinor plans to increase oil production towards 2026 and then maintain the current level of production until 2030. It goes without saying that this is not compatible with the message from the IPCC that the world must cut emissions by close to 50 percent by 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.”

Conor Curtis, Sierra Club Canada Head of Communications, said:

“In Canada Equinor’s incredibly risky Bay du Nord oil project actually has a 16% chance of causing a serious spill, according to an independent analysis of Equinor’s own data, even though the company has downplayed those risks. Canada is not prepared to deal with a major oil spill, let alone the impacts of climate change that oil would worsen if burned. As we see communities devastated and destroyed in Canada by the impacts of climate change, from severe storms to wildfires, Equinor is continuing to pursue environmentally dangerous oil projects that will further destroy our climate when they could be investing in renewable energy instead.”


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