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INTOG among several Scottish opportunities being chewed over by Equinor, says North Sea offshore wind boss

© EquinorElectrification North Sea platform
An illustration of the Hywind Tampen floating wind farm that will power Norwegian oil and gas platforms.

The upcoming INTOG offshore wind round is among a raft of “different opportunities” Equinor (OSLO: EQNR) is chasing in Scotland.

Expected to open for bids next month, the ScotWind-style auction will allow developers to secure space to build wind farms of differing sizes.

A particular focus of INTOG, short for Innovation and Targeted Oil and Gas, is decarbonising North Sea hydrocarbon production as the sector strives for carbon neutrality from operations.

Crown Estate Scotland, which is managing the process, also hopes the round will attract companies wanting to build novel, pioneering projects.

It comes just a few months after the results of ScotWind were announced and, with many hopefuls missing out on acreage, INTOG could provide alternative entry into the market.

Matei Negrescu, head of area development North Sea at Equinor, said: “We are looking at different opportunities and INTOG is one of those on the list. I can’t say much more than that.”

He also reaffirmed the Norwegian energy giant’s interest in offshore wind in Scotland after the company was one of those that missed out in ScotWind.

The company already has renewables pedigree north of the border with Hywind Scotland.

When it started producing green energy in 2017, it became the world’s first commercial floating offshore wind farm.

Since then, it has been among the UK’s best performing wind farms.

“Scotland is very important for Equinor as a broad energy company,” Mr Negrescu said.

“We’ve had an office in Aberdeen for many years now, initially to support our oil and gas activities in the North Sea, first Mariner and now Rosebank too.

“On the low carbon solution side, we’re looking into projects together with SSE on the hydrogen and carbon capture and storage side of things.

“Then of course we have Hywind Scotland, which was the world’s first floating commercial wind farm.

Proserv Hywind Scotland © Supplied by Jan Arne Wold /Equin
Equinor’s floating Hywind project, Scotland

“Scotland is, in a way, very representative of the broad energy approach that we want to bring across the North Sea – it’s still very much an area of interest for us going forward.”

On the other side of the North Sea, Equinor is beginning to put the final touches on its Hywind Tampen development.

The floating wind farm will be the first to power oil and gas facilities, namely the Snorre and Gullfaks fields.

Due to be operational this year, the project could mark a step change in hydrocarbon production, and Equinor is looking to take that expertise global.

Mr Nagrescu said: “Hywind Tampen is the first wind farm in the world that will supply power to oil and gas facilities.

“This is definitely something that we are piloting and pioneering with our Norway operations, but we’re looking at how we expand in the future.

“We think it’s extremely important to look at the total energy system on the road to net zero, and the bridges that there are – offshore wind can be an important tool for oil and gas.”

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