Oil Giant BP Announces Offshore Wind Bid in Norway

British oil and gas major BP is joining the recently established consortium between Statkraft and Aker Offshore Wind, which is preparing a bid to build an offshore wind farm in Norway.

Illustration; Photo source: BP

The consortium will propose to develop an offshore wind project in the Sørlige Nordsjø II (SN2) area, with a plan to also explore opportunities to power offshore oil and gas facilities with clean electricity.

Statkraft and Aker Offshore Wind entered a cooperation for the development of a fixed-bottom offshore wind project in Norway at the beginning of this year, after the Norwegian government opened two areas for offshore wind in 2020.

The two areas, with a total capacity potential of 4.5 GW, are Utsira Nord and Sørlige Nordsjø II. According to the government, Utsira Nord is better suitable for floating wind technology, while Sørlige Nordsjø II will accommodate fixed-bottom offshore wind farms.

For the latter, which is the area BP, Statkraft and Aker Offshore Wind are set to bid for, the award announcement is expected in the first quarter of 2022. Furthermore, according to the latest information from Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, the government presupposes that bottom-fixed offshore wind at Sørlige Nordsjø II will be built without state aid.

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The Norwegian government is currently working on an assessment of hybrid projects at Sørlige Nordsjø II, for which the industry had advocated to allow for the power to be brought onshore both in Norway and abroad, enabling import and export of electricity.

BP officially entered the offshore wind market earlier this year with the closing of an acquisition transaction announced in September 2020, when the company agreed with Equinor to take 50 per cent interest in two Equinor’s offshore wind projects off the US east coast.

Shortly after that, the oil giant and German energy company EnBW were selected as the preferred bidders for two major leases in the UK Offshore Wind Round 4, in which BP will hold a 50 per cent stake.

In the consortium with Norwegian companies Statkraft and Aker Offshore Wind, BP will hold a 33.3 per cent share, as will its two partners.

As its offshore wind project portfolio continues to grow, the company recently posted around 100 job vacancies, looking for talent to support its business in the sector.

The oil major announced its plans to become a net-zero company by 2050 (or sooner) at the beginning of 2020.

BP aims to grow its net renewable generating capacity from 2.5 GW in 2019 to 20 GW by 2025, and to around 50 GW by 2030. The company also aims to increase annual low carbon investment ten-fold by 2030 to around USD 5 billion a year.