BP Joins Partnership for Norwegian Offshore Wind Development
A week after Norway announced plans to move forward with new leases and open more areas for the development of offshore renewable energy, the UK’s oil giant, bp, announced that it is joining with Aker Offshore Wind and Statkraft in a new partnership to develop offshore wind energy in Norway. The latest move is part of the effort to reposition the company in renewable energy.
The partnership will pursue a bid to develop offshore wind power in the Sørlige Nordsjø II (SN2) license area located off the south coast of Norway bordering the Danish sector in the North Sea. Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Tina Bru, announced just a year ago that the country would make this area along with Utsira Nord off the southwest coast of Norway. The areas were first identified as potential targets in 2019 and Norway began the process to accept proposals for the areas in 2021.
According to the companies, Sørlige Nordsjø II ‘s favorable location provides power export access to local and adjacent markets. The area, which totals approximately 1,000 square miles, and well situated in proximity to major industrial areas is seen as an excellent opportunity for the export of electricity. It is well suited to both bottom-fixed wind turbines and floating installations.
“bp aims to grow our renewables business at scale and we see great opportunities in offshore wind energy. We have decades of offshore experience in the North Sea and will also bring our extensive trading capabilities and strong relationships in Europe,” said Dev Sanyal, bp’s executive vice president of gas & low carbon energy. “Coming together with Aker and Statkraft, we believe this consortium will be ideally positioned to effectively and efficiently grow and deliver clean power for European markets, as well as strengthen the supply to Norway when needed.”
The consortium said that it also intends to explore opportunities to provide clean power to electrify offshore oil and gas facilities. The partnership will work with local suppliers, building industrial competencies for Norway’s offshore wind market, and contribute toward value creation in the Nordic and European energy market.
Speaking at a floating wind conference in Norway last week, Bru said that demand remains strong for renewable energy and that Norway sees an opportunity to further develop leadership in the sector. Among the priorities is the Sørlige Nordsjø II area which has received strong interest from potential developers. Bru said the government is following a two-stage process, first to qualify companies and then to hold auctions for leases among those qualified companies. Norway expects the first leases to be awarded for this region by the first quarter of 2022.
To continue the development of the sector and to meet the long-term needs for renewable energy, Bru said the Norwegian government will also start the process of identifying new areas for offshore wind production. The first step will be launching impact studies to confirm the best locations for the next phase of expansion.