Norway’s oil producer Statoil eyes first investments in solar


Norwegian multinational oil and gas company Statoil ASA has confirmed to pv magazine that it is interested in investing in solar, as previously reported by Reuters.

“We continuously evaluate new business opportunities within both oil and gas,” said the company in its statement, “but also within renewables, as Statoil gradually builds a profitable renewable portfolio. We have concentrated mostly on offshore wind so far, as this is experience we can draw upon, we also evaluate new business opportunities within solar. However, we do not have any concrete solar projects at the moment.”

The company has confirmed, however, that it is evaluating business opportunities in Algeria, as reported in Reuters' article, although it added it was not part of the meeting held on Tuesday in Algiers between the Norwegian foreign affairs minister Borge Brende with Algerian counterpart Noureddine Boutarfa. According to Reuters, the two ministers also discussed possible Statoil investments in wind and solar power projects in Algeria. The article stressed that this is the first time Statoil has expressed interest in renewable energy projects in the country. The company has already developed two of the largest gas fields in Algeria, in partnership with oil and gas provider Sonatrach.

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Algerian state-owned oil company Sonatrach will be in charge of implementing the country's ambitious 4 GW solar plan, for which the government is set to launch a tender soon. Sonatrach will also hold a 40% stake in all the special purpose companies, which will own the PV projects selected in the upcoming tender.

Statoil launched the NOK 1.7 billion ($197 million) Statoil Energy Ventures fund dedicated to renewable energies in February 2016. At the time, the oil producer said the fund would acquire minority stakes in emerging companies, preferably as a co-investor with other venture firms. Potential investments included offshore and onshore wind, solar energy, energy storage, transportation, energy efficiency and smart grids.

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