A consortium of BP, Statkraft and Aker will bid for licences to build wind power projects in the North Sea's Sørlige Nordsjø II development area

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BP plans to build 50GW of renewable energy capacity by the end of this decade as it targets net-zero emissions by 2050 (Credit: BalkansCat/Shutterstock)

BP is looking to Norway in its latest pursuit of offshore wind development, joining domestic energy firms Statkraft and Aker in a consortium preparing bids for an upcoming auction.

The trio will compete for rights to build offshore wind assets in the Sørlige Nordsjø II (SN2) ‎licence area in the North Sea, which was opened up for development by the Norwegian government at the start of this year alongside a second offshore area, Utsira Nord.

Combined, the two areas have the potential for 4.5 gigawatts (GW) wind power capacity. SN2 is likely to involve fixed-bottom turbines, while Utsira Nord is more suited to floating offshore technologies.

Successful licence awards for Sørlige Nordsjø II are expected to be announced in the first quarter of 2022.

The consortium says it will also explore the potential of supplying clean power for electrifying offshore oil and gas facilities in the region.

 

Norway is the latest in a series of offshore wind markets targeted by BP

BP is quickly raising its presence in the global offshore wind market, as it embarks on a strategic shift towards lower emissions and a rebalanced energy portfolio that has a greater weighting of renewable sources.

It made its first entry into the sector last year through a partnership with Equinor on the US East Coast, and more recently secured two licences to build 3GW wind capacity in UK waters in collaboration with Germany’s EnBW.

The UK-based oil major has also confirmed its intention to bid in Scotland’s upcoming ScotWind leasing auction, also in partnership with EnBW.

Dev Sanyal, BP’s executive vice president of gas and low-carbon energy, said his company sees “great opportunities” in offshore wind as it seeks to grow a renewable energy business at scale.

“We have decades of offshore experience in the North Sea and will also bring our ‎extensive trading capabilities and strong relationships in Europe,” he added.

“Coming together with ‎Aker and Statkraft, we believe this consortium will be ideally positioned to effectively and ‎efficiently grow and deliver clean power for European markets, as well as strengthen the ‎supply to Norway when needed.”

‎SN2’s location near the Danish border of Norway’s North Sea makes the 2,591 square-kilometre development area favourable to power exports to adjacent European markets.

Kristian Røkke, chairman of Aker Offshore Wind, said: “Our partnership has the potential to redefine Norway’s position as an energy ‎nation, and the consortium’s joint capabilities are building blocks to lead the energy ‎transition.”

BP, Statkraft and Aker will each hold a 33.3% interest in the consortium.

Among other bidders in the upcoming auction, they will face competition from Equinor, RWE Renewables and Hydro REIN, which last month announced plans to jointly submit proposals for SN2.