March 15 (UPI) -- Norwegian energy major Statoil said Thursday it started a rebranding campaign that would begin with a name change that eliminates "oil" from its moniker.
The board of directors at Statoil proposed a name change to Equinor -- drawing in part on words like "equal" and "nor" to signify its Norwegian roots.
"The world is changing, and so is Statoil," board Chairman Jon Erik Reinhardsen said in a statement.
Statoil is one of the leading producers of oil and gas in the world, drawing on reserves from the North Sea to the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Equity production in the fourth quarter was 2.1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, almost a 2 percent increase from the previous year.
The company has established a presence, meanwhile, outside of the conventional energy sector. In December, it secured a 79,000-acre plot off the coast of New York for its Empire Wind project, a wind farm with a design capacity of 1 gigawatt.
The government owns shares in Statoil, which had income of $5.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared to a loss of $1.9 million in the same period of 2016.
Norges Bank, the country's central bank, said in a letter to the Finance Ministry in November it was recommending the removal of oil and gas stocks from the benchmark Government Pension Fund Global, arguing that it would make Norwegian government wealth less exposed to a "permanent drop in oil and gas prices."
By December, economists at the Organization of Economic Development and Cooperation said a dynamic business sector and well-managed oil and gas wealth means Norway enjoys one of the highest levels of GDP per capita in the world, though managers need to stay nimble, especially amid concerns about a housing market correction.
"Statoil has for almost 50 years served us well," President and CEO Eldar Sætre said. "Looking towards the next 50 years, reflecting on the global energy transition and how we are developing as a broad energy company, it has become natural to change our name."
Equinor as the new name will be put before shareholders May 15.