Equinor responds to coronavirus outbreak with changes to executive committee

Norwegian oil and gas major Equinor has decided on temporary changes to the corporate executive committee to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Chief executive Eldar Sætre. (Photo: Ole Jørgen Bratland)

The coronavirus, measures to limit the spread, and the significant fall in oil prices have huge impact on the global economy, and on individuals and companies across the world.

As a response to the current situation, Equinor is now making temporary changes to ensure an effective response and coordinated efforts across all business areas to manage the situation both short and long-term, the Norwegian company said on Tuesday.

Eldar Sætre, CEO of Equinor, said: “These are challenging times for us all, as individuals, families, societies and companies. We are facing uncertainty, many are afraid for their and their loved one’s health, others of losing their jobs and concerned for their future. Our response must be to do our utmost to limit the spread of the virus and to take care of safety and health. At the same time, we must make every effort to keep operations and business going and to produce and deliver the energy the world needs.”

Equinor is establishing a temporary corporate project to handle both short-term immediate response and long-term implications. The project will be established and structured over the coming days and will be headed by EVP Pål Eitrheim reporting directly to CEO Eldar Sætre.

An already working internal project focusing on immediate response and short-term business continuity issues will be incorporated into the new corporate project. Eitrheim will in this role still be part of the CEC. SVP Jens Økland will be acting head of NES while Eitrheim is heading this project.

“The outbreak of the coronavirus and the fall in commodity prices will impact Equinor for a long time. We are a robust company with a strong balance sheet, and we are now really benefitting from the strong improvements in recent years. But it will be necessary to take forceful action to reduce risk, protect our business and operations and to ensure the long-term robustness of our company. I have therefore asked Pål Eitrheim to lead our work on this and it will be on top of the agenda for our Corporate Executive Committee and Board of Directors,” said Sætre.

Equinor said it has already implemented significant measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus and to ensure business continuity during these challenging times, including reducing and delaying non-critical tasks at fields and plants, implemented procedures for working from home and taken strict travel restrictions and quarantine measures.

There will be uncertainty and volatility going forward, and Equinor will continuously evaluate measures to respond.

“Keeping production going and ensuring that we can deliver oil and gas to our customers have high priority,” the company concluced.

It is worth reminding that, earlier in March, following suspension of helicopter flights to several Equinor’s offshore installations due to suspected coronavirus case, one person at the Martin Linge field in the North Sea tested positive on the coronavirus.


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