Big Oil Companies Unveil 1 GW Floating Wind Plan in Norway

Equinor and its partners in the Troll and Oseberg fields in Norway: Petoro, TotalEnergies, Shell, and ConocoPhillips, are looking into building a 1 GW floating wind farm to power the two offshore fields.

The partners have already initiated feasibility studies to explore options for building a floating offshore wind farm in the Troll area, some 65 kilometres west of Bergen, and are aiming to have an investment decision in place next year.

The wind farm, called Trollvind, would have an installed capacity of about 1 GW and is planned to go into operation in 2027.

According to Equinor and its partners, with an annual production of some 4.3 TWh and an onshore connection point, Trollvind could both power the offshore fields and deliver extra electricity to the Bergen region, which already serves several of these installations with power and needs more input to its electricity grid.

Transferring offshore wind power to shore may enable the possibility to build a larger wind farm than one directly connected to oil and gas installations offshore, the partners said, adding that increasing the size of wind farms is a key factor in industrialising floating offshore wind and reducing costs. 

“Trollvind is a concept where renewable energy works to facilitate several objectives; helping cut emissions through electrification, delivering power to an area where shortages have already created challenges for new industrial development, and Norway maintains its position as a leader in the industrialisation of floating offshore wind”, said Equinor’s chief executive, Anders Opedal.

The partners are evaluating commercial arrangements where the Trollvind development is selling power to the Troll and Oseberg installations and the Kollsnes natural gas processing plant, with no other forms of financial support required.

Source: Equinor

Estimates indicate that Trollvind can deliver power for less than NOK 1/kWh (approximately EUR 0.1/kWh), according to the companies.

“Such an agreement would ensure greater long-term access to power at a stable price in an area where the power situation is strained. At the same time secure a sufficient income level for the wind farm to trigger the investment”.

The plan is that the partnership will buy as much energy as the wind farm can produce at a price that can make the project possible, Equinor, Petoro, TotalEnergies, Shell, and ConocoPhillips stated in a press release on 17 June.

“Using our integrated capabilities to decarbonise existing operations and accelerate offshore wind development is exactly the kind of action our companies need to be taking to further society’s progress towards net zero by 2050”, said Shell’s global EVP, Renewable Generation, Thomas Brostrøm.

Equinor said that Trollvind could be realised by building on the collaboration established between government authorities and the industry through Hywind Tampen, with experience transferred and learning utilised while good co-existence solutions are identified and implemented from an early stage.

The Hywind Tampen project, being built by Equinor and its Snorre and Gullfaks partners, is under construction and will become the world’s first floating wind farm to power oil and gas platforms.

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The first of the 11 Siemens Gamesa 8.6 MW wind turbines that will make up the floating wind farm was installed several days ago at the construction site some 140 kilometres offshore the Norwegian coast.

The electricity generated by its wind turbines will cover around 35 per cent of the annual power needs of the five platforms at the Snorre and Gullfaks offshore oil and gas fields.

Along with being the first floating offshore wind farm to deliver electricity to oil and gas installations, Hywind Tampen will also become the largest floating wind farm in operation, once commissioned by the end of this year.

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Photo: Equinor