Equinor to Maintain API Membership

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Norwegian state oil and natural gas producer Equinor has decided to retain its membership in the American Petroleum Institute (API) after the trade group changed its position on climate policy to align with the Paris Agreement. But Equinor said it will not renew its membership in upstream lobbyist Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) “in line with changes to our international operations.” The decisions follow a review, completed in March, of its industry association memberships to determine if their respective climate positions are aligned with the Paris climate goals and Equinor's own net-zero targets. Last year, Equinor quit the Independent Petroleum Association of America and also found “some misalignments” with the API and APPEA. However, the company said in its review that it would retain its API membership following the group’s pledge to support the climate ambitions of the Paris accord and work on them with the US government, and to consider carbon pricing (OD Mar.2'21). Equinor also highlighted the API’s support for further methane regulation and policies regarding market-based transportation fuels, while pointing to “areas of potential misalignment” on electric vehicle (EV) innovation and deployment. “We will continue to engage with API and work with other members on API climate policy through our representation on the board and in relevant committees impacting climate and sustainability issues,” Equinor said. For the first, in its review Equinor detailed its annual membership fees, revealing that it pays Norwegian lobby Norog the same as the API -- between $1 million and $3.5 million per year. Bending the Trend In January, French major Total split with the API after completing an annual review of its alignment with trade groups, becoming the first Western major to leave the powerful trade group (IOD Jan.15'21). Total at the time highlighted differences of opinion around methane regulation, carbon pricing, subsidies for EVs and support for the Paris climate agreement. European majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell have also dropped their memberships in groups like the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers amid mounting pressure over a perceived mismatch in their positions on climate-related policy. Meanwhile, Equinor’s split with Australia’s APPEA follows its decision last February to drop plans to drill in the environmentally sensitive Great Australian Bight offshore area (IOD Jan.12'21). Moreover, the company said last year that it disagreed with APPEA on the use of Kyoto carryover credits, its support for exemptions from climate policy for the LNG industry, and a lack of clarity on carbon pricing policy. The move was welcomed by the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, which said “APPEA’s record of advocacy is completely at odds with Australia’s commitment to the Paris Agreement.” Deb Kelly, London

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