Equinor has hailed a milestone for the floating wind sector after first power was exported from the Hywind Tampen project designed to help decarbonise oil and gas production in the Norwegian North Sea.

Hywind Tampen delivered its first electricity to the Gullfaks A platform on Sunday, the Norwegian major announced, adding that the project marks a debut for commercial-scale wind power off Norway and will also be the world’s largest floating array so far.

The project is on course to install seven of its 11 turbines by the end of the year giving it an installed capacity of 60 megawatts and outstripping the 50 MW Kincardine off Scotland.

The addition of Hywind Tampen’s remaining four turbines has been delayed by supply issues, meaning the floating project will only reach its full capacity of about 95 MW in 2023.

Geir Tungesvik, Equinor’s executive vice president for projects, drilling and procurement, said: “This is a unique project, the first wind farm in the world powering producing oil and gas installations.

“The Norwegian content of the project is about 60%. This shows that we, together with our partners and suppliers, are building a new industry on the shoulders of the oil and gas business utilising the competencies we together have acquired over many decades.”

Tapping wind, including from floating turbines, as an alternative power source for offshore oil and gas is gathering traction around the world, with Scotland at the forefront with its INTOG leasing round that is set to spur large-scale installations.

Earlier this month, ConocoPhillips signed an agreement with China’s CNOOC Ltd to develop an offshore wind farm to supply green power for oil production at the Penglai oilfield at Bohai Bay, offshore northeastern China.

Norway will be the site of further activity in its upcoming auction for deep-water acreage in Utsira Nord, where developer Source Galileo and offshore drilling contractor spin-off Odfjell Oceanwind have struck an agreement to co-operate to bid in floating wind-powered oil and gas decarbonisation projects.

There are also projects now bubbling away for similar schemes off Europe, in the US Gulf of Mexico, off Southeast Asia and Canada.

(This article first appeared in Upstream’s renewable energy sister publication Recharge on 14 November 2022).

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