The UK needs to see floating wind projects power North Sea oil and gas installations “as soon as possible”, according to Scotland’s energy minister.
Paul Wheelhouse, minister for energy, connectivity and the islands, called on big oil and gas firms operating in the UK Continental Shelf who “have a significant balance sheets behind them” to explore projects similar to Equinor’s Hywind Tampen project.
Norwegian oil firm Equinor’s commissioned 88MW Tampen wind farm aims to cut carbon emissions at Norway’s Snorre and Gullfaks fields by 200,000 tonnes by powering the installations.
The 11-turbine project is a more than £400million investment by Equinor.
Mr Wheelhouse said: “We’ve got a great example with Equinor, who are delivering project Tampen, but where is the equivalent project coming from in the UK sector?
“We know the technology works with Hywind, so we need to see projects come forward like that in the North Sea as soon as possible.
“Oil and gas firms have significant balance sheet strength behind them and investment in renewable energy would be a good way of avoiding divestment as well.
“If they lead it here they can lead it in other basins around the world.”
Mr Wheelhouse added with the upcoming COP26 conference putting a focus on Scotland and the UK’s oil and gas sector “like there never has been before” in Glasgow this year, it would be a good idea for firms to consider alternative electrification of North Sea platforms.
He said: “It would be naïve to think that there won’t be enormous pressure to make significant changes in delivering the sector’s low carbon ambitions.
“Hydrogen is one way we can do that, but offshore wind, and especially floating wind, is a great opportunity for the skill-set that we’ve got in the oil and gas sector to beat the competition.”
“We know how to deliver floating structures in challenging offshore environments and do it well.
“There is also a ready-made market to help pump-prime it, so the oil and gas sector can actually mange its own transition while diversifying into a sector that’s going to have global potential.”