Norwegian oil giant targets China’s burgeoning offshore wind market

Norwegian state-owned energy company Equinor has signed a deal with Chinese shipbuilder CIMC Raffles to cooperate on offshore wind projects in the Yellow Sea.

Equinor told the website that the two aimed to win some of the 23GW of offshore projects that the Shandong provincial government plans in the next five years.

The company said in a statement: "We are looking forward to cooperating with CIMC Raffles … to jointly mature and develop early and at scale, offshore wind projects in the Shandong province."

In its earlier incarnation as Statoil, Equinor mainly developed oil and gas fields in the North Sea, and has been responsible for a number of feats of marine engineering, such as the huge Troll A platform, the tallest structure that has ever been moved from one location to another (pictured).

Equinor’s huge Troll A platform in the North Sea (Øyvind GravÃ¥s and Even Kleppa/Equinor)

It now plans to transition to renewables, focusing on the offshore wind sector.

So far it has invested in wind projects in the Baltic and the North Sea. Earlier this month, it announced a deal with renewables specialist Vårgrønn to develop a floating wind farm off Utsira in southern Norway.

It said the agreement with CIMC Raffles had the potential to turn it from a minor regional player into a global offshore wind major.

China has been a late entrant into the offshore wind business, with less than 1GW of capacity in 2015. However, it had 12GW in 2020 and is projected to reach more than 50 GW by 2030.

CIMC Raffles is a privately owned shipbuilder and offshore engineer based in Shandong. In April, it launched a Green Industry Partners initiative as part of efforts to help China reach carbon neutrality by 2060.

The initiative calls for joint efforts to bring down wind farm costs through innovation and develop offshore projects, such as hydrogen, aquaculture, sea water desalination and photovoltaics.

Image: China is planning to install more than 50GW of offshore wind assets by 2030 (Mariusz Paździora/CC BY-SA 3.0) 

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