Statoil CEO Recognizes Transparency and Trust are Keys to Our Energy Future
Calvert applauds openness to collaboration on regulation and development noted in remarks at IHS CERA conference
The oil and gas industry has responded to the end of the era of easy to access energy with remarkable technological advances that are altering how the world will meet its energy needs for decades to come.
However, as Statoil ASA CEO Helge Lund noted during a March 7 speech (external site) at an oil and gas conference organized by the research company IHS CERA, the industry has not made an equivalent response to the social challenges of this new era.
Regulatory Opposition Threatens "Social License to Operate"
Instead, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and several leading companies have fought reasonable and overdue reforms such as the payment disclosure provision of Dodd-Frank Act Section 1504. The result is an environment in which the trust necessary to secure the "social license to operate" for more challenging and riskier projects is drifting further out of the industry's reach.
Statoil Recognizes Value of Transparency and Trust
To his great credit, during his March 7 remarks, Mr. Lund said he "believe(s) there is a huge upside working to ensure we have the right regulations, rather than being perceived as the industry that fights regulations." Mr. Lund went on to say that the payment disclosures Statoil has made voluntarily for years have not created a competitive disadvantage for his company and would be a beneficial route for the whole industry to take. Statoil should be commended for its leadership on both of these points.
Sustainability Innovation Needed to Secure Energy Future
While Calvert may not agree with all of the details of how Mr. Lund and Statoil would like to see laws such as Section 1504 implemented, we share the opinion that such regulations are stronger when industries chose to negotiate their terms rather than trying to fight them in the media and through litigation.
Calvert hopes other oil and gas companies will join Mr. Lund and Statoil in recognizing that innovations in transparency and trust-building are as necessary to our energy future as advances in technology.
As of February 29, 2012, accounts managed by Calvert Investments, Inc. had securities issued by Statoil ASA. Calvert may or may not still invest in, and is not recommending any action on, companies listed.
Calvert Investments, Inc., 4550 Montgomery Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814