Norway’s Statoil CEO appeals to energy industry to be more open

07 March 2012 04:43  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The energy industry needs to be more open and transparent so that it can secure the trust it requires to continue doing business, the chief executive of Norway-based Statoil said on Tuesday.

“Some regard this as soft values,” said Helge Lund, CEO of Statoil. “I don't agree.”

Lund was speaking at the IHS CERAWeek energy conference, which is being held at Houston in Texas on 5-9 March.

The need for openness comes as the public has started using social media to organise and protest.

“For 2011, Time magazine named 'the protester' person of the year,” Lund said. “It illustrated what we saw throughout the year: the new power of the public.

“The Arab spring, probably the most obvious example, brought revolutions and change of power to a number of countries,” he added.

“We can just imagine what it can do to a company not being able to respond forcefully and with speed,” Lund said.

In addition to transparency, the industry needs to act responsibly by addressing concerns about the environment and labour rules, he said.

Lund noted that President Barack Obama also called for greater transparency about the chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing during the recent State of the Union address.

“When the president singled out this issue in his speech, we have to admit that we probably did not move quickly enough,”" Lund said.

“We must be ready to respond in a way that both contributes to develop our industry and responds to the call of the future,” Lund said.

“We have the responsibility to show leadership and take action beyond what is formally required of us.”

Instead of reacting to new regulations, the industry should take its own initiative and exceed the public’s expectations, he added.

“I believe there is a huge upside working to ensure we have the right regulations rather than being perceived as the industry that fights regulations,” Lund said. “Society at large must feel confident that we are operating in an efficient and justifiable manner.”

Truth is something that must be earned over and over again, according to Lund. The industry cannot ignore groups that do not trust it and its ability to operate safely.

“Truth is fundamental for creating and protecting shareholder value,” he said. “We must interact effectively with the society around us.”

By: Al Greenwood
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