Major Floating Wind Farm Offshore Scotland to Power Oil and Gas Field

Flotation Energy Plc and CNOOC Petroleum Europe Ltd have submitted an Offshore Scoping Report for a floating wind farm offshore Scotland with a capacity of up to 480 MW and scheduled to be operational by 2026.

The Green Volt offshore wind farm would feature up to 30 wind turbines with a rated capacity of between 10 MW and 16 MW and up to two fixed-bottom offshore substations which would deliver the electricity to both the Scottish grid and the Buzzard oil and gas field where CNOOC is the operator and the largest shareholder.

Buzzard oil and gas platform. Source: CNOOC

This would enable the removal of the offshore power station, which currently fuels oil and gas production
from the field. This decarbonisation project would be the first of its kind in the UK.

The Green Volt offshore wind farm would be developed on a brownfield site previously hosting the Ettrick and Blackbird oil field, 75 kilometres east of the Aberdeenshire coast, where large amounts of site data already exists.

Green Volt aims to utilise this data to streamline the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA), and other associated consent submissions of the proposed wind farm.

One export cable would supply the Buzzard oil field 15 kilometres away, whilst a second export cable would supply the National Grid, making landfall near Peterhead.

A turbine manufacturer has not been confirmed to date, and the project expects to consider proposals from Siemens Gamesa, GE, and Vestas, the developer said.

The turbines will be installed in water depths of between 100 metres and 115 metres and harness average wind speeds of 10.93 m/s with an expected capacity factor of 55 per cent, the developer said.

Green Volt is currently reviewing a number of floating foundation designs which could be suitable for the project.

It is anticipated that, due to soil conditions at the site, the wind turbines will be restricted to a substructure which is moored using a catenary mooring system. This is the same type of mooring system which was previously employed by the Floating Production Storage Offloading (FPSO) vessel installed on the Ettrick and Blackbird oilfield and the Kincardine floating wind farm offshore Scotland.

The Buzzard oil field is one of the largest oil and gas development on the UK continental shelf, and also one of the newer, production facilities in the North Sea and is expected to be required to continue operation until late 2030s to early 2040s. The total electrical demand for the platform would be a constant 70 MW.

Green Volt is expected to provide power to the oil field at the same level of reliability as the UK grid, improving the overall reliability of power to the platform, the developer said. Surplus power would be delivered to the Scottish grid and would be enough to power 300,000 homes, according to the report.

The wind farm is also expected to outlast the Buzzard field and deliver electricity for decades to come.

The Offshore Scoping Report for the project was prepared by Royal HaskoningDHV.

Photo: Buzzard oil and gas platform. Source: CNOOC