Floating wind turbines to part-power giant North Sea fields

Equinor and its partners in the Snorre and Gullfaks fields in the North Sea have committed to the Hywind Tampen offshore wind farm development.


The company is submitting updated plans for development and operation to the Norwegian authorities.


Pending approvals, the two fields’ oil and gas platforms will be the first anywhere to be powered by a floating offshore wind farm, Equinor said.


This will be located around 140 kilometres (87 miles) offshore in 260-300 metres (853-984 feet) of water between the Snorre and Gullfaks complexes.


Equinor CEO Eldar Sætre said: “We have been systematically maturing technologies for floating offshore wind for almost 20 years.


“About 80 % of the global resource potential for offshore wind is in deep waters, and floating offshore wind may play an important part in the energy transition towards more sustainable global energy supply.


“This brings substantial opportunities for Norwegian industry.”


Investments in Hywind Tampen will approach NOK5 billion (US$549 million). Via Enova, the Norwegian authorities have pledged up to NOK2.3 billion (US$253 million) of funding for the project, and the NOx Fund will contribute up to NOK566 million (US$62 million).


Equinor plans 11 x 8-MW wind turbines based on its Hywind technology. The total capacity of 88 MW should satisfy around 35% of the annual power demands of the five Snorre A and B, Gullfaks A, B and C platforms.


Reducing the use of gas turbines on the fields should also help cut their carbon dioxide emissions by more than 200,000 metric tons (220,462 tons) annually.


“The authorities’ consent to extending the productive life of the Gullfaks field to 2036 and the Snorre field to 2040, up to 20 years longer than when the fields were initially planned, has been essential to realizing the Hywind Tampen project,” said Arne Sigve Nylund, Equinor’s executive vice president for Development & Production Norway.


The wind farm is expected to enter service in late 2022 and will be operated from the company’s Bergen office. Gulen Industrihamn in western Norway will assemble the floating wind turbines before they are transported to the North Sea location.


Source: Offshore Magazine