When they were mere schoolboys, Adolf Lundin knew that Lukas Lundin and his brother Ian would one day take the reins of his growing petroleum conglomerate. Ian, only twelve, and his younger brother Lukas was a very young ten when Adolf Lundin, the boys’ father, asked them to sit down and discussed with the young fellows future plans as to who would take over the separate divisions of the Lundin Group’s mining, oil and gas empire. Adolf was sitting with his sons on the French Riviera in a small café. His discussion with the two would settle the future of the company as well as the two young fellows’ future.
At the end of the twentieth century and despite the fact Adolf was aging, he still presented every promise of continuing to run the large organization he had grown from the beginning. Even though he believed his boys would eventually take over managing the petroleum and mining empire, Adolf wasn’t quite prepared to relax into retirement just yet. Both had joined the company as young teens but they had worked their way up to major responsibility. Adolf would say, “I would not enjoy life as a retired person;” he found little pleasure in the idea of completely handing over the company to his sons.
Even so, Adolf had encouraged the boys from a young age to learn the ins and outs of running a global energy conglomerate. While most entrepreneurs would be hesitant to hand over the reins, Adolf could do so trusting he had prepared his sons well for their leadership positions. Even though they were very young boys on the day they talked with their father in the small café and discussed the future, they began to prepare for their new roles shortly thereafter. Their holidays away from education were spent prospecting for uranium with a Lundin Group company, Eurocan. They worked each summer break rather than staying in Geneva with family or friends.
Surprisingly, when the boys finished their secondary education, their father made only one request. He was not concerned as to which school they attended, only that they both major in petroleum engineering.
Lukas would attend and successfully receive an undergraduate degree from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. Ian would follow his brother’s footsteps to the same school, but he later decided he would better benefit from attending the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma. Lukas would go on to manage gold exploration projects in Canada and Sierra Leone as a part of Eurocan. Ian graduated from college, then worked as a trainee with the German oil company, Wintershall. He worked primarily in the Prinos Oil Field in the Aegean Sea.
Of course, the brothers would eventually begin working together. They went to Egypt, where their father had secured major exploration rights for the Lundin Group. Lukas would later say, “Egypt turned out to be a trial by fire. In Egypt, a drill rig failed and some managers from the Shell oil group were fired. During their time in Egypt, Lukas and Ian would both run operations out of the technical offices in Cairo and Dubai. They were still fairly inexperienced, but they were very ambitious to learn more about their chosen field.
Ian would become the Chairman of the Board of Lundin Petroleum. He was awarded this honor at the first annual general shareholders meeting. He was only 42, but he had been working in the field more than twenty years. Adolf said at the time that (Lundin Petroleum) “would be at least as big as Lundin Oil before we sold it.”
Lukas and Ian share differing styles of leadership, but both are still heavily influenced by their father’s style. Lukas has largely followed his father’s example as Chairman of Lundin Mining. Both Lukas and Ian have enjoyed playing the stock market and making surprising, sometimes shocking deals. Lukas shares his father’s affinity for keeping strong, years- long relationships with key players in the financial market. On the other hand, Ian is more reserved; he is less of a risk-taker than his brother.
However, when they come together, the two Lundin men’s personalities create a formidable leadership at their respective companies. Ian has seen many ups and downs in the oil and petroleum sector. He appears to possess a foresight that most do not have. It is an innate thing for Ian. Lukas works chiefly on mining, which doesn’t tend to put him in the spotlight as it down Ian.
Ian has been described as a “company builder.” This was a comment from a long-time friend of Adolf; he has watched the boys grow and come into their own as smart businessmen. Lundin Petroleum became Lundin Energy in 2020. Ian is moving toward green, more renewable energy and sustainable oil. The company has not only changed its name to reflect the progression, but the ethics and the operational practice has changed as well.
In April 2021, Lundin Energy sold what it believes is the world’s first certified, carbon neutrally produced oil from its Edvard Grieg field in the Norwegian North Sea. Company representatives say that the newly created drill site has been certified as a low carbon field for full life-of-field emissions including exploration, operation, and development. The number they offer (3.8 kg of CO2 per boe) is a purported five times less than the global average. Future plans include certifying low carbon oil from Western Europe’s biggest Sverdrup field. Lundin owns this particular field in conjunction with a large group of partners.
The energy industry has been shaken up by a trade to Italian refiner Saras; it is a monumental event for the industry as a whole. While it is now the norm for petroleum companies to offset any possible carbon emissions by utilizing carbon credits, which are financial plans created by projects that reduce or do not produce greenhouse emissions. Because the Edvard Grieg project has been officially certified low-carbon, it is the first of its field to do so. This will put Lundin on a path to becoming carbon neutral by 2025.
Critics seem to label carbon credits as a way to compensate for unsustainable drilling practices, most governments recognize the importance of these credits. Lundin is working to change practices that would increase emissions so that credits need not apply in this situation. Lundin Energy is investing in research and development related to carbon capture technology. This will ensure that any oil or gas resulting from drilling will be green. One of their projects is a nitrogen oxide gas scrubbing system. According to Axel Kelley, an Environmental Manager for Lundin Energy Norway, “Lundin’s West Bollsta drilling rig has the lowest NOx emissions on the Norweigan shelf, perhaps worldwide.” This particular rig has the nitrogen oxide gas scrubbing system in place.
Lundin Energy plans to spend approximately $35 million to plant 8 million trees in Ghana as well as Northern Spain in an effort to promote sustainable energy. This is mean to offset any greenhouse gas emissions from current fossil fuel production.
Ian Lundin has never shied away from what others have called “the Adolf way.” Ian is consistently thinking big to make sure that Lundin Energy stays at the helm of both industry and technological standards. Adolf defined much of the market with his own personal knowledge of mining.
Ian – always the company builder – realizes that tomorrow’s profit will only come due to a shrewd understanding of where the energy market is headed. Ian stands behind a policy of the potential value of promoting efficient emission reductions. Ian strives to provide both responsible operations in the field while utilizing transparency in the provenance of natural resources. He also understands that he must operative effectively in often difficult environments. This is the core belief of the Lundin Energy company.
Both Ian and Lukas are well aware of the vast changes the industry has seen since their father’s time at the helm of the company. Adolf predicted “twenty golden years” in 2002 for the industry. Oil and petroleum production has greatly fallen out of favor with the public due to climate change. ESG investors are looking for cleaner ways to produce petroleum and move toward more sustainable energy. Regulations have heavily changed the landscape of the industry as well.
Last year, countries garnered $53 billion after charging companies for emitting carbon dioxide while drilling. This is an eighteen percent increase from just 2019. The world bank says their may have been some new levies imposed on the industry as well. There rare now 64 global carbon pricing instruments in operation now compared to 58 in 2020. Lundin Energy is now operating within the world’s largest emissions trading system. This was a mandatory move made by the European Union sixteen years ago.
When he was asked “What sets Lundin Group apart from other companies, Lukas was quick to reply, “We are both quick and opportunistic.” The brothers have designed a shared vision for the future of the Lundin Energy company, and they forge ahead into the future with the tools to produce more sustainable and environmentally-friendly energy in the future.