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'Big Oil' heads for ScotWind

8 September 2019

At the Offshore Europe 2019 event last week both Shell and Total signalled their interest in bidding into the ScotWind leasing round due to commence in October.

Total CEO, Patrick Pouyanne, was first up when he told the audience that the oil giant was looking at entering the next offshore wind leasing round in Scotland. He cited the rapid rise of floating wind as the main reason for their move at this time.

He stated that “Total intends to participate in the coming round,” referring to the imminent ScotWind leasing round without elaborating any further.

Crown Estate Scotland have selected a number of sites in Scotland with water depth of 60 metres or more which would lend themselves to floating wind technologies. The Scottish Government are keen to support the growth of floating offshore wind as Scotland is already a world leader in the development of this technology with the largest floating wind farm in the world, Hywind Scotland, already operational and with the even larger Kincardine project under construction. The ScotWind leasing round is now acting as a magnet for floating wind companies from around the world. Oil majors being no acceptation.   

Shell's Energy Transition Manager, Joanne Coleman, confirmed their interest in the ScotWind round during her piece to the Offshore Europe audience by stating “We’ll need to look at what acreage the Crown Estate Scotland puts out to bid and decide which blocks we want to bid on but we are certainly very keen to get into offshore wind here.” 

She also referred to both fixed and floating offshore wind as areas of interest but expanded on the floating wind element by commenting,
“Shallow water is great when we’re talking the next few gigawatts (GW), but the UK needs 80GW at least, so when you start looking at that and you start looking at deeper water and higher wind power and availability, then floating makes much more sense.” 

With two of the largest oil and gas majors in the world entering the ScotWind leasing round things are sure to heat up in the competition to win the offshore acreage necessary to deliver future Gigawatts of offshore wind in Scotland.