BP and Equinor Part Ways in US
Equinor and BP have reached an agreement to restructure the ownership of their joint US offshore wind projects which, following completion, will result in BP taking ownership of Equinor’s 50 per cent stake in the Beacon Wind 1 and 2 projects and Equinor taking ownership of BP’s 50 per cent stake in the Empire Wind 1 and 2 projects.
Under the agreement, Equinor will take 100 per cent ownership of Empire Wind Holdings and BP’s 50 per cent share of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT) lease while at the same time, BP gets Beacon Wind Holdings LLC and the associated project company that holds the Astoria Gateway for Renewable Energy site.
Following the signing of the deal, a bid was submitted for the Empire Wind 1 project in New York’s fourth offshore wind solicitation round which closed on 25 January.
It has also been agreed with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to terminate the Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Certificate (OREC) Purchase and Sale Agreement for the Beacon Wind 1 offshore wind project.
Subject to regulatory approvals, the transaction is currently anticipated to close around mid-2024.
Following the assessment of the fair value of bp’s assets, the company expects to recognize a pre-tax impairment charge of around USD 0.6 billion relating to bp’s US offshore wind assets in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Beacon Wind 1 and 2 comprise a combined area of 128,000 acres in federal waters between Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Long Island, New York. The combined potential generative capacity of the projects is in excess of approximately 2.5 GW which has the potential to deliver renewable energy to over two million consumers in the northeastern US.
Beacon Wind is located 60 miles (almost 97 kilometres) east of Montauk Point and 20 miles (32 kilometres) south of Nantucket. The lease was acquired in 2019 and the wind farms would be connected to the grid in New York and Connecticut.
“Beacon Wind 1 and 2 have immense potential to create American jobs, benefit local communities, deliver low carbon energy and support the energy transition,” said Joshua Weinstein, BP’s president of offshore wind Americas.
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When it comes to Empire Wind 1 and Empire Wind 2, the lease area was awarded to Equinor in 2017. It is being developed in two projects, Empire Wind 1, with a potential capacity of 810 MW, and Empire Wind 2, with a potential capacity of above 1,200 MW.
Both Empire Wind 1 and 2 have been impacted by industry-wide macroeconomic effects, and while Empire Wind 1 is bidding into the NY4 solicitation, Empire Wind 2 will be matured for future solicitation rounds, said Equinor.
The transaction with BP is expected to result in a combined reported loss estimated to be around USD 200 million for Equinor, assuming a positive outcome of New York’s fourth solicitation.
The final investment decision for the Empire Wind 1 is expected in mid-2024, depending on the results of the solicitation.
Equinor said it intends to use project financing and to bring in a partner at the right time to enhance value and reduce ownership share and exposure.
“Empire Wind 1 is ready to deliver on New York’s climate and energy goals, with numerous permits and supplier contracts secured. The strong commitment by the state to develop this industry is reflected in the NY4 rapid rebid offering, providing an opportunity to improve value creation for the project,” said Molly Morris, senior vice president for Renewables in the Americas in Equinor.
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