Global oil and gas giant bp has made an entry into the offshore wind space in the US, by agreeing to acquire $1.1bn worth stake in Equinor’s projects.
Under the terms of the agreement, bp will buy a 50% stake in the Empire Wind and Beacon Wind offshore projects from Equinor.
However, the Norwegian oil and gas company will continue to remain as the operator of the offshore wind projects.
The offshore wind projects will be equally staffed by bp and Equinor.
bp’s investment in the US offshore wind projects comes a month after it announced to increase its annual low carbon spending 10-fold to around $5bn.
The British company targets to grow its developed renewable generating capacity from 2.5GW 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 recognized as being a core part of meeting the world’s need to limit emissions.”
First power from Equinor’s projects is expected in mid-2020s
Covering a total area of 80,000 acres, the Empire Wind lease area is 15-30 miles southeast of Long Island.
The Empire Wind offshore project will be developed in two phases, with first power from phase one expected in the mid-2020s.
Awarded to Equinor in 2016, the entire Empire Wind lease area has a potential generation capacity of 2GW, which is enough to power more than one million homes.
Covering a total area of 128,000 acres of federal waters off New England’s coast, Beacon Wind is expected to have a total generating capacity of 2.4GW.
Looney said: “Equinor is a recognized 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.”