CNOOC Ltd has started a selection procedure intended to lead to classification of its first floating wind project offshore China.

The Chinese operator has selected three classification societies to go through a qualification process before inviting those that qualify to participate in the bidding process to be launched towards the end of the year.

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The qualification includes international classification agencies DNV of Norway and Bureau Veritas of France, as well as China’s home-grown China Classification Society (CCS).

People familiar with the qualification procedure told Upstream that CNOOC Ltd may select one foreign classification organisation, in the floating wind case either DNV or BV, which will tie up with CCS for joint work.

The floating wind project will centre on a semi-submersible floating wind platform with 6.25 megawatt capacity turbines to be provided by Shanghai Electric.

The unit will be deployed 130 kilometres offshore, south of Yangjiang city, in the South China Sea's Beibu Gulf.

Powering offshore oil complex

The project is intended to provide electricity for the platform topsides at the Wencheng oil complex by connecting the production facility to the floating turbine.

Wenchang’s power utilities face a lack of gas supply to fuel the engines and CNOOC Ltd is keen to supplement the power supply via offshore wind as part of its effort to reduce carbon emissions.

The Wenchang oil complex comprises two wellhead platforms — Wenchang 13-1 and Wenchang 13-2. CNOOC Ltd has just completed refitting the two unmanned platforms into manned facilities for safety purposes.

Oil is produced from the Nanhai Fenjing floating production, storage and offloading vessel, from where crude is shipped to an onshore terminal by shuttle tankers.

Strained Sino-US relationship leads to contracting rethink

CNOOC Ltd’s offshore contractor Offshore Oil Engineering Company (COOEC) has completed front-end engineering and design for the Wenchang wind project, even though Norwegian contractor Aker Solutions had done the initial study on the project based on technology from its partly-owned US company Principle Power Incorporated (PPI).

The Aker study is based on a floating foundation for offshore wind turbines, known as WindFloat technology, developed by PPI.

Late last year, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Department of the Treasury added CNOOC Ltd to the list of Chinese companies with alleged ties to the country's military.

The strained Sino-US relations, which led the US to impose sanctions on CNOOC Ltd, have forced the Chinese offshore operator to rethink incorporating US technology at the project.

CNOOC Ltd eventually dropped Aker and opted for COOEC to complete the engineering work, which will later be rolled into an engineering, procurement and construction agreement.

Under the deal, COOEC will provide services such as load-out, sea-fastening, transportation and installation of the foundations and topsides.