STAVANGER, Norway, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Norwegian energy company Statoil announced the launch of a new $200 million investment fund to help drive a strong renewable energy growth strategy.
"The transition to a low carbon society creates business opportunities, and Statoil aims to drive profitable growth within this space," Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil's vice president in charge of new energy solutions, said in a statement. "Through the new fund, we look forward to investing in attractive and ambitious companies and contribute to shaping the future of energy."
Statoil described the fund as an early effort in complementing its staple oil and gas portfolio with renewable and other low-carbon energy solutions. The initial focus will be on wind and solar power, energy storage, transportation, smart grids and energy efficiency options.
Statoil last year joined nine of the world's largest oil and gas companies in pledging to play a constructive role in reducing the intensity of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Through the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, the companies said they're committed to "significant actions" to cut greenhouse gas emissions from their operations. The 10 companies combined for about 10 percent of all global energy supplies and said they've reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by around 20 percent over the last 10 years.
Statoil said its new $200 million investment fund will target minority positions in "growth companies, preferably as a co-investor with other venture firms" working in renewable energy or other low-carbon solutions.
The company outlined a capital spending plan for 2016 of around $13 billion, down about 11 percent from last year as low crude oil prices cut into its traditional operations. Earnings for the fourth quarter were down 44 percent year-on-year to $1.75 billion.