Norway’s ‘Mr. Oil’ in as New BP Chairman
BP has announced that Helge Lund will succeed Carl-Henric Svanberg as the company’s new chairman at the beginning of 2019. The former Statoil and BG group chief executive is expected to join BP as a non-executive director in September of this year, in preparation for the role of chairman which he will start in January 2019.
“I am confident Helge, with the rest of the board, will provide the company with good governance and strategic guidance as we continue to grow and adapt through the energy transition”
Bob Dudley, CEO, BP
At 55 years old, the Norwegian will be the youngest member of BP‘s board. However, his relative youth may act as a significant advantage in a rapidly changing world as continuous progress is made towards the transition to cleaner forms of energy.
The move towards new leadership has come as BP has returned to growth following the crises of the previous decade. The years following the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 precipitated an extended period of turbulence for BP. However, as the troubles of previous years come to an end, new challenges are emerging. In particular, Lund will oversee BP‘s proposed plans to reduce carbon emissions through the adoption of cleaner forms of energy and renewables.
The ‘forward-looking’ Lund is known for his strong grasp on the issues that are predicted to shape BP in coming years. As noted by one individual involved in the recruitment process, “he gets technology and he understands the energy transition.” In particular, the emergence of renewable energy and electric vehicles threatens to transform the energy sector as demand for fossil fuels is anticipated to diminish significantly in coming decades. As energy companies are increasingly embracing the ‘green revolution’, an understanding of the challenges and opportunities that energy companies face will become increasingly vital. However, confidence in Helge Lund’s abilities remains high. As BP group chief executive Bob Dudley states, “I am confident Helge, with the rest of the board, will provide the company with good governance and strategic guidance as we continue to grow and adapt through the energy transition.”
“He grasps the dilemmas and opportunities that oil and gas companies are going to face in coming years.”
Referred to as ‘Mr Oil’ in his home country of Norway, Lund has come to be highly regarded following his impressive performance as chief executive of the country’s state owned oil company, Statoil. Under his leadership, Statoil saw its production double as the company expanded into shale gas in the United States and deepwater oil in Brazil. Significant oil discoveries were made in the Arctic and North Sea while initiatives aimed at reducing carbon emissions and diversifying the company into offshore wind came into action.
Above all, Lund is well renowned for his expertise on the energy industry as a whole. As stated by oil veteran Andrew Gould, “He grasps the dilemmas and opportunities that oil and gas companies are going to face in coming years.” Lund’s appointment as chairman of BP in 2019 therefore stands to bring in a new period of prosperity for the company as it enters an era of transformation.
Writer: Louis Goss