Norway-based energy company Equinor and partners at Gullfaks and Snorre oil fields in the North Sea are exploring options for drawing power from a floating offshore wind farm.

If this possibility materialises, then it could be the first time that an offshore wind farm is being directly linked to an oil and gas platform.

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This project is expected to cut down CO2 emissions by more than 200,000t annually, equivalent to the emissions from 100,000 vehicles.

“The Hywind Tampen project is contributing to further developing floating offshore wind technology, reducing costs and making the solutions more competitive.”

Equinor has carried out an extensive study to analyse which oil and gas installations on the North Sea Continental Shelf are ideal to be supplied with power from a floating offshore wind farm, with the Snorre and Gullfaks oil fields identified.

Equinor New Energy Solutions executive vice-president Pål Eitrheim said: “Reducing the use of gas turbines by supplying platforms with power from floating offshore wind is a challenging and innovative project.

“It may also facilitate new industrial opportunities for Norway, Equinor and Norwegian supply industry within profitable renewable energy while enabling oil and gas production with low CO2 emissions.

“The Hywind Tampen project is contributing to further developing floating offshore wind technology, reducing costs and making the solutions more competitive.”

The Norwegian company noted that the preliminary capital and development expenditures of the project could be around Nkr5bn ($598m).

Based on the floating offshore wind concept Hywind, Equinor is exploring the idea of building a wind farm with 11 wind turbines at 8MW each.

The wind farm is estimated to meet about 35% of the annual power requirement of the five Snorre A and B, and Gullfaks A, B and C platforms. When the wind speed is higher, this percentage will further increase.

Equinor Norway Development and Production executive vice-president Arne Sigve Nylund said: “In order to maintain profitable operations on the NCS in the long term, it is essential that we do our utmost to further reduce the carbon footprint from our activities.

“The Tampen project will make a considerable contribution to the industry’s ambition to reduce CO2 emissions on the Norwegian continental shelf by 2.5 million tonnes per year from 2020 to 2030.”

The industry’s NOx fund has confirmed to offer NOK566m ($67m) investment support to the project.

Additionally, partners of the Snorre and Gullfaks oil fields have applied seeking support from Enova’s programme for energy and climate measures for the project.