Dong Energy plans to change its company name to Ørsted, following its strategic transformation from a fossil fuels business to renewables (largely offshore wind), and the recent divestment of its upstream oil and gas business.
The company has called for an Extraordinary General Meeting to ask the shareholders of the company to approve the change. The new name references the Danish scientist Hans Christian Ørsted (1777-1851) who spearheaded several scientific discoveries that helped lay the foundation for how today's societies are powered.
Thomas Thune Andersen, chairman of the board of directors, commented: "Dong was originally short for Danish Oil and Natural Gas. With our profound strategic transformation and the divestment of our upstream oil and gas business, this is no longer who we are. Therefore, it is now the right time to change our name.
"Our vision is a world that runs entirely on green energy. Climate change is one of the most serious challenges the world faces today, and to avoid inflicting serious harm to the global ecosystems, we need to fundamentally change the way we power the world – from black to green energy."
Henrik Poulsen, CEO of Dong, said: "2017 will be remembered as the year when offshore wind became cheaper than black energy, as demonstrated by the recent tenders for offshore wind in Germany and the UK. It has never been more clear that it is possible to create a world that runs entirely on green energy. The time is now right for us to change our name to demonstrate that we want to help create such a world."
Over the past decade, Dong has transformed from an energy company based on coal and oil to a leader in renewable energy. It has divested its upstream oil and gas business and decided to stop all use of coal. In addition, it has established a team to explore new business opportunities in energy storage. Nonetheless the company has been able to increase earnings considerably, while reducing the use of coal in its power stations and building out new offshore wind farms. Since 2006, CO2-emissions have been reduced by 52%, and by 2023, they will have been reduced by 96% compared to 2006.
As battery storage and new energy technologies mature and as a more flexible demand side is developed, natural gas will, in the coming years, continue to support the transition to an entirely green energy system. Dong will continue to trade in and sell natural gas to its customers.
The announcement does not change Dong Energy's previous financial guidance for the financial year 2017 or the announced expected investment level for 2017.