Shell to acquire floating developer Eolfi

Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to acquire French floating offshore wind developer Eolfi, as the oil giant expands further into the sector.

Eolfi is developing a pilot project off Brittany that will feature three MHI Vestas turbines installed on Naval Energies' platforms

The French company will become a fully integrated subsidiary of Shell as part of its New Energies division following the acquisition, which is expected to be completed next month.

Shell explained that it would apply its experience in offshore environments and in project management to floating offshore wind.

The company added that it also sees potential for development of fixed-bottom offshore wind off the coast of Eolfi’s native France. It had unsuccessfully bid in the tender for the 600MW Dunkirk project off France’s north coast earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Eolfi is developing a three-turbine floating offshore wind pilot project off Brittany, north-west France, and is also planning five 500MW arrays off Taiwan with Spanish industrial engineers Cobra Concesiones.

It has also developed onshore wind and solar PV projects in five countries.

The developer employs more than 65 people in France. No jobs will be lost or relocated after the acquisition, an Eolfi spokeswoman told Windpower Monthly.

Dorine Bosman, vice president for offshore wind at Shell, said: "Eolfi has been a pioneer of floating wind development.

"We believe the union of Eolfi’s expertise and portfolio with Shell’s resources and ability to scale-up will help make electricity a significant business for Shell."

The oil giant has made previous moves in the floating offshore wind sector.

It signed a cooperation agreement with floating offshore wind platform manufacturer Principle Power in 2015, and upped its stake in sector innovator Henrik Stiesdal’s TetroSpar project to 66% earlier this year.

Shell’s acquisition of Eolfi is subject to authorisation by regulatory and ministerial authorities, the companies stated.