BP Makes $1.1bn Investment In US Offshore Wind As Part Of Its Strategic Shift Plan

With plans for making an investment in the United States worth $1.1 billion, British Petroleum (BP) is now venturing into the arena of offshore wind power for the first time.

A 50 per cent stake in Equinor’s Empire Wind and Beacon Wind projects on the east coast of the United States will be acquired by BP, the company said in a statement on Thursday. The combined power generation capacity of the two projects is enough to give power to more than 2 million American homes.

“This is an important early step in the delivery of our new strategy and pivot to truly becoming an integrated energy company,” BP CEO Bernard Looney said. “Offshore wind is growing at around 20% a year globally and recognized as being a core part of the world’s need to limit emissions.”

With the aim of meeting its pledges on achieving net zero emissions by 2050, a major strategic overhaul of the company was unveiled by BP last month. The plans of the company in achieving that include making a 10-fold increase in annual low carbon investments to $5 billion by 2030 when, according to the company, there will be a 40 per cent less production of oil and gas production compared to 2019 levels.

The company expects the investment deal in Norway’s Equinor will be closed by early next year, following which the path for further investment into the fast growing offshore wind market of the United States would get further opened up. In the US, BP already employs about 14,000 people in the significantly large onshore wind business in the United States. About 40 per cent of the company’s investments in this area are located in the US.

Future opportunities in the country will be considered by the companies, Equinor said.

“Our partnership underlines both companies’ strong commitment to accelerate the energy transition and combining our strengths will enable us to grow a profitable offshore wind business together in the US,” CEO Eldar Sætre said in a statement.

The Empire Wind and Beacon Wind developments are located off New York City and the Massachusetts coast respectively. The first floating offshore wind farm in the world off the coast of Scotland was commissioned by Equinor in 2017. The company is currently constructing offshore wind clusters in the North Sea, the US east coast and the Baltic Sea.

Launched in January this year with the aim of advancing the cause of sustainable deployment of ocean-based renewable energy, the Ocean Renewable Energy Action Coalition is spearheaded by the company together with Danish multinational Orsted.

BP plans to make major investments into bioenergy, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage as a part of its strategy to shift away from oil and gas sector, BP had said last month. While doing so, the company also has set a target to raise $25 billion by selling assets over the next five years and reduce its oil and gas refining portfolio, the company has said.

(Adapted from CNN.com)

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