BP has struck a deal to buy 50% of the Empire and Beacon offshore wind projects on the US east coast from Equinor for £845 million.
The acquisition has an effective date of January 1, 2020 and is expected to close in early 2021,
The two companies are also establishing a strategic partnership for further growth within offshore wind in the US.
Currently Equinor holds a 100% interest in both the Empire Wind lease, located off the coast of New York State, and Beacon Wind, off Massachusetts.
Equinor will remain operator through the development, construction and operations phases.
It is anticipated that the wind farms will be equally staffed after a period of time.
The agreement comes a month after BP announced its new strategy, including aims to increase its annual low carbon investment 10-fold to around £3.8 billion a year and grow its developed renewable generating capacity from 2.5 gigawatts (GW) in 2019 to around 50GW by 2030.
BP chief executive Bernard Looney said: “This is an important early step in the delivery of our new strategy and our pivot to truly becoming an integrated energy company.
“Offshore wind is growing at around 20% a year globally and is recognised as being a core part of meeting the world’s need to limit emissions.
“Equinor is a recognised sector leader and this partnership builds on a long history between our two companies.
“It will play a vital role in allowing us to deliver our aim of rapidly scaling up our renewable energy capacity, and in doing so help deliver the energy the world wants and needs.”
Equinor CEO Eldar Saetre said: “We look forward to working with BP who share our strong ambition to grow in renewable energy.
“Our partnership underlines both companies’ strong commitment to accelerate the energy transition and combining our strengths will enable us to grow a profitable offshore wind business together in the US.”
Through their partnership, Equinor and BP will consider future joint opportunities in the US for both bottom-fixed and floating offshore wind and will leverage relevant expertise to jointly grow scale.
The market that is forecast to grow to between 600 and 800 gigawatts (GW) globally by 2050.
The Empire Wind lease area, awarded to Equinor in 2016, is 15-30 miles southeast of Long Island and has a total area of 80,000 acres.
The area will be developed in two phases. Empire Wind phase one secured an offtake agreement in the July 2019 solicitation and will have between 60 and 80 turbines.
It is expected to start production in last 2024.
The whole Empire Wind lease area has a potential generation capacity of 2GW with a generating capacity of more than one million homes.
Beacon Wind covers a total area of 128,000 acres. When fully developed it is expected to have a total generating capacity of 2.4GW, sufficient to provide power to more than a million households in the Northeast US.