Crown Estate Scotland Seeks Offshore Wind Power for Oil Platforms

crown estate scotland
Turbine components at the Port of Nigg, Scotland (Crown Estate Scotland)

Published Feb 22, 2022 12:39 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Tuesday, Crown Estate Scotland announced that it is keeping up the momentum of the massive ScotWind offshore lease sale with a new solicitation for smaller wind projects, this time to power offshore oil and gas platforms.

In the new lease round, developers will bid in two separate categories: one for trial-size offshore wind projects of less than 100MW, and one for larger projects designed to provide electrical power for offshore oil and gas activity. The second set of developments - producing up to four gigawatts of power - would reduce the carbon emissions associated with oil and gas production. The timetable is relatively rapid, with a bidding window opening in June. 

"Following our initial announcement last year, we’re now engaging with industry on how the next stage of the INTOG leasing process will work and what it can achieve," said Colin Palmer, the director of marine for Crown Estate Scotland. "Whilst we recognize it will be for industry and government to take the key steps needed on oil and gas transition, we believe this will provide a step towards progressing that transition to net zero."

“This announcement adds further momentum to the offshore wind sector in Scotland, and increases again the size of the supply chain opportunity ahead," said Ben Miller, senior policy manager for industry association Scottish Renewables.

The idea of using offshore wind to power offshore oil and gas extraction has precedent. Norwegian oil major Equinor is building an 88 MW floating offshore wind farm near its Snorre and Gullfaks offshore platform complex in the Norwegian Sea. The installation will provide about 35 percent of the electrical power used by the five nearby platforms. 

Crown Estate Scotland's next offshore wind auction follows just after the completion of the massive ScotWind lease round last month. ScotWind was a remarkably large auction totaling about 3,000 square miles of prime seabed, and it drew in nearly $1 billion in option fees from 17 winning projects. The combined power capacity of these proposed installations totals nearly 25 gigawatts.