Statoil launches $200m renewables venture fund

The Norwegian oil and gas company has launched a renewable energy venture capital fund to diversify its portfolio.

Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil has launched a $200 million venture capital fund to invest in clean energy growth companies. 

Statoil Energy Ventures (SEV) will mostly become a minority shareholder in growth companies investing in offshore and onshore wind, solar, energy storage, transportation, energy efficiency and smart grids. The company added it would consider investing in specific funds. 

Gareth Burns, managing director of SEV, said the new fund will invest in three areas: current renewable operations, growth opportunities and high-impact technologies and business models. 

“The transition to a low carbon society creates business opportunities, and Statoil aims to drive profitable growth within this space,” said Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil's vice-president for new energy solutions. “We look forward to investing in attractive and ambitious companies and contribute to shaping the future of energy.” 

SEV will operate alongside Statoil's upstream oil and gas venture fund, Statoil Technology Invest (STI). 

Last year, it won approval from the Scottish government to build the world's largest floating offshore wind farm, the 30MW Hywind pilot park off the coast of Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Construction is expected to finish in 2017. 

Statoil said in its fourth quarter results report that one of its three investment strategies for 2016 was “preparing to invest in the next generation portfolio”. The chief executive Eldar Sætre said its results were “highly impacted by the weak commodity price”.