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Oil majors pile into Scottish offshore wind tender

Scotwind tender draws 74 bids amid strong competition for North Sea project rights

European oil and gas companies have targeted the UK’s latest offshore wind tender, with Shell, BP, Equinor, TotalEnergies and Eni all bidding for rights to develop projects in the Scottish North Sea.

The Scotwind tender, which closed on 16 July, attracted 74 bids for rights to build projects across 15 areas of seabed, with final awards expected in January 2022, according to Crown Estate Scotland, which manages the tender. In response to the high level of bids, the Scottish Government delayed the Scotwind tender to review its design.

BP is bidding into Scotwind jointly with German utility EnBW for a lease area which it says could support 2.9GW of capacity. “Through our bid we aim to do far more than only develop offshore wind—we believe it can help fuel Scotland’s wider energy transition,” says Dev Sanyal, BP’s executive vice president for gas and low carbon.

“We want to harness the clean power from Scotland’s offshore wind and use our capabilities as an integrated energy company to accelerate the country’s EV charging network” Sanyal, BP

“We want to harness the clean power from Scotland’s offshore wind and use our capabilities as an integrated energy company to accelerate the country’s electric vehicle charging network, build its hydrogen offering and strengthen its supporting infrastructure, including ports and harbours.

The strong interest from oil majors comes after BP and Total secured development rights ahead of several pure-play wind developers in the UK’s round four tender earlier this year. BP and EnBW won the rights to develop two leases in the Irish Sea with a combined potential capacity of 3GW.

Some analysts say BP paid a significant premium to outbid competitors, including pure-play renewable power developers, but the company has repeatedly denied this.

Round four was the UK’s first offshore wind tender for a decade and produced higher-than-expected prices.

In June, BP filed a joint bid with Statkraft and Aker Offshore Wind for offshore wind project development rights in the SN2 ‎licence area of the North Sea. Offshore wind is integral to BP’s transition strategy goal of developing around 50GW of net renewable generating capacity by 2030.

TotalEnergies back for more

TotalEnergies, which also won development rights in the UK’s round four tender, is bidding in Scotwind together with bank Macquarie’s Green Investment Group and Scottish independent wind developer Renewable Infrastructure Development Group.

TotalEnergies is already developing the 1,075MW Seagreen project in Scotland in a £3bn ($4.1bn) joint venture with UK renewable energy developer SSE Renewables. The project, off the coast of Angus in the Scottish North Sea firth, will be one of the world’s largest offshore windfarms when complete.

Shell is bidding into Scotwind together with Scotland-based power generator Scottishpower Renewables (SPR), with a focus on floating technology, which is expected to account for about half the project awards, with Scotland aiming to become a world leader in the technology.

2.9GW – Potential capacity of BP-EnBW site

“If our bid is successful, Shell and SPR are fully committed to working with Scottish communities and businesses to help develop supply chains and expertise which could make Scotland a world leader in floating wind,” says Shell UK country chair David Bunch.

Norway Equinor is also bidding into Scotwind, with an emphasis on floating technology. The company already operates the Hywind project in Scotland, the world’s first utility-scale floating windfarm.

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