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Statoil chief moves to quash reports of renewables exit

Statoil chief executive Helge Lund has moved to quash reports that the Norwegian oil giant could withdraw from the renewables sector.

Speculation was rife after Lund indicated Statoil might drop its investments in green energy in an interview with Norwegian newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad.

He said: “If fossil fuels are going to dominate the global energy picture over the next decades, then we have to assess whether it is viable to be engaged both in oil and gas and in renewable energy, as we are today."

But in a later press conference he claimed: "There’s no reason in my view to question our commitment to our strategy. It remains firm and has broad support in the management team and the board of directors.”

However, he did add that "the industry has to show it is going to be profitable".

Stavanger-based Statoil is currently participating in offshore wind farms, including the Sheringham Shoal project and the North Sea Dogger Bank facility, both off the UK coast.

It is also "focusing on tidal power, wave power, methane gas from landfill sites and biomass, as well as combined heat and power production", according to a company statement.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond is trying to entice Statoil to build the world’s first floating wind farm with its Hywind turbines in the country's waters.

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