• Oil and gas producer will take minority share in startups
  • Company expects to invest in Europe and North America

Statoil ASA, Norway’s biggest oil and gas producer, will invest as much as $200 million in renewable energy over four to seven years as part of Chief Executive Officer Eldar Saetre’s plan to diversify the company’s portfolio.

A new fund, Energy Ventures, will take a minority stake in startups developing technologies including wind power, energy storage and smart grids, according to a company statement Tuesday.

Saetre set up a renewable energy unit in May, three months after taking over the company, saying he wanted to expand into renewable sources beyond wind power.

The company has already met entrepreneurs and is expecting to invest as much as $20 million in each company, Gareth Burns, managing director of Statoil Energy Ventures said in Oslo. Most investments will be in North America and Europe, he said.

“The transition to a low carbon society creates business opportunities, and Statoil aims to drive profitable growth within this space,” Irene Rummelhoff, executive vice president of the clean energy unit, said in the statement.

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