Pairing offshore wind and oil & gas goes beyond decarbonisation – report

A study commissioned by Crown Estate Scotland has revealed that connecting offshore wind installations directly to oil and gas platforms could help decarbonisation, support economic activity, and encourage new companies to enter the offshore renewable energy sector.

Equinor/Illustration; Hywind Tampen project

The report, carried out by independent consultancy company Natural Power on behalf of Crown Estate Scotland, follows the announcement in February 2022 of the Innovation and Targeted Oil and Gas (INTOG) offshore wind leasing process proposed by Crown Estate Scotland.

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According to the new report, large numbers of companies are now seeking to branch out into the offshore wind sector, some for the first time, due to the rapidly expanding offshore wind market.

The report also outlines INTOG’s potential for off-grid solutions, by connecting wind turbines directly to oil and gas platforms, negating the need for connection to the shore.

Though separate from the ScotWind Leasing round for commercial-scale offshore wind projects, the report’s authors highlight the potential for integration with INTOG projects, offering ScotWind turbines the option of offtake connections to oil and gas platforms.  

The wider benefits of INTOG are featured in this report as well, including the opportunity for oil and gas organisations with little or no renewable energy experience to use INTOG as a way into this growing sector, said Crown Estate Scotland.

Companies that have already committed to offshore renewables via ScotWind, could expand their knowledge by using INTOG to trial new technologies and develop the supply chain ahead of the ScotWind roll-out.

“INTOG leasing creates a very attractive opportunity for operators and developers to progress a just transition and help meet the challenging decarbonisation targets set by industry and government,” said Colin Palmer, Director Marin at Crown Estate Scotland.

INTOG will see developers applying for the rights to build small-scale innovative offshore wind projects of less than 100MW, as well as larger projects connected to oil and gas infrastructure to provide electricity and reduce the carbon emissions associated with those sites.  

The areas of seabed to be made available are set out in the Scottish Government’s Initial Plan Framework, the consultation for which closed in October 2021.

Applicants will also be required to submit a Supply Chain Development Statement, outlining the nature and location of any supply chain activity linked to their proposed project.

Bids will be judged on a mixture of price and quality, with the bidding window currently anticipated to open in June 2022, Crown Estate Scotland said.