Norwegian energy giant Equinor and Chinese yard CIMC Raffles have signed a strategic co-operation agreement to mutually develop local offshore wind projects in Shandong province as well as other renewables projects in China.

The pair put pen to paper on the pact late last week, to coincide with a visit to CIMC Raffles in Yantai by Norwegian Ambassador to China, Signe Brudeset.

Paal Eitrheim, Equinor's vice president for new energy solutions, also attended the ceremony via video link.

An Equinor spokesman confirmed that the company had signed a deal with CIMC Raffles to develop renewable energy projects in China.

"We are looking forward to co-operating with CIMC Raffles — a strong, local industrial partner in this area — to jointly mature and develop early and at scale offshore wind projects in the Shandong province," he told Upstream.

He added that Equinor has a clear target to increase its installed renewable energy capacity thirty-fold by 2035.

"We are stepping up to become a global offshore wind major, and to deliver on our strategy we continue to assess different business opportunities globally," he said.

China has set a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2060. The country aims to become the world’s largest offshore wind market and has an ambition to install over 12 gigawatts by 2020 and 40GW to 65GW by 2030.

Shandong province plans to allocate a total of 23GW of offshore wind projects by 2025.

"The agreement with CIMC Raffles has the potential to support Equinor’s strategy to become a global offshore wind major by building scale in core areas and securing growth options in attractive markets for offshore wind," Equinor's spokesman said.

CIMC Raffles said the agreement "symbolised the formation of close partnership between the two companies".

It added: "In the future, with respective advantages, both parties will conduct strategic and in-depth co-operation on China offshore wind and other low-carbon energy fields."

CIMC Raffles is one of the leaders among Chinese yards in their efforts to diversify amid the fast-paced energy transition.

In April, CIMC Raffles launched a Green Industry Partners initiative as part of efforts to help China achieve its carbon emissions peak target by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060.

The initiative calls for joint efforts to provide integrated solutions to cut offshore wind farm operation and maintenance costs through innovation and increased efficiency.

The yard in Shandong province has already carved out a new product line for offshore renewable energy covering booster stations, converter stations, wind installation and service vessels, floating turbines, fish farms and others such as wind-related hydrogen generators, carbon dioxide transportation vessels, seawater desalination units and offshore photovoltaic system.

In April, CIMC Raffles won a deal to build multiple offshore wind turbine installation vessels intended to offer practical solutions for offshore wind farm installations under rough sea conditions.

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The vessel will be equipped with a giant crane with lifting capacity of 2200 tonnes. It will be capable of installing turbines of up to 20 megawatts, considered to be the largest in China.