Oil and gas investors target Norwegian offshore wind

Eni and HitecVision aim to bid in Norway's forthcoming tender for offshore wind licences

The Norwegian government is tendering licences for the Utsira Nord and Sørlige Nordsjø II sites (pic credit: NVE)

Energy companies Eni and HitecVision have formed a new joint venture to develop renewable energy projects in the Nordic region, with Norwegian offshore wind their first target.

The partners plan to enter Norway’s upcoming tender for offshore wind licences through their Vårgrønn joint venture, and use offshore wind output to electrify oil and gas platforms.

Vårgrønn aims to reach 1GW of installed renewables in the Nordic region “towards 2030”, the companies stated.

Eni and HitecVision had previously partnered on oil and gas production in Norway through their Vår Energi venture.

If successful in the Norwegian offshore wind tender, output from a potential project could help to reduce Vår Energi’s emissions through the electrification of its upstream oil and gas assets, Eni and HitecVision added.

The Norwegian government is tendering licences for two sites capable of supporting 4.5GW of offshore wind capacity, with developers able to apply from January 2021.

Vårgrønn will be led by Olav Hetland, who has previously served as Statkraft’s senior vice president for offshore wind.

The CEO said: “We look forward to being part of a new market for offshore wind in Norway, using the skills and experience built over decades in the Norwegian petroleum sector”.

HitecVision is the largest private-sector investor in the Norwegian oil and gas industry.

Earlier this year, it formed a new industrial group of oil and gas investors to help them expand into other parts of the energy sector, including renewables.

Its new partner in Vårgrønn, Eni aims to have 1.6GW of wind, solar and storage capacity by 2022, and up to 5GW by 2025.

The companies' hopes to use offshore wind output to help reduce emissions from oil and gas assets echo Equinor's plans for its Hywind Tampen project in the Norweigan North Sea.