Equinor and BP Forming US Offshore Wind Partnership

By Tim Shea

Acquisition or Partnership

Equinor has entered an agreement to sell to BP a 50% share in the Empire Wind and Beacon Wind lease on the US’ northeast coast for $1.1 billion.  The companies will also establish strategic partnership for further growth within offshore wind in the US.

Currently Equinor holds 100% interests in the lease, covering an area off the coast of New York State, and the Beacon Wind lease off the Massachusetts coast.  The company will remain operator of projects on these leases through the development, construction and operations phases, with wind farms equally staffed after a period of time.

Empire Wind is 15-30 mi (24-48 km) southeast of Long Island and covers 80,000 acres (323.7 sq km), in water depths of 65-131 ft (19.8-40 meters).  The lease, acquired in 2017, is under development in two phases and could have a total installed capacity of more than 2 GW.

Beacon Wind is 60 mi (96.6 km) from Montauk Point and 20 mi (32 km) south of Nantucket and spans 128,000 acres (518 sq km).  The lease, acquired last year, holds development potential for total capacity of more than 2.4 GW, Equinor said.  In both cases the turbines employed will have an installed capacity of more than 10 MW, supplying power in each case to more than 1 million homes. 

Through this partnership, Equinor and BP will also contemplate other joint opportunities in the US for bottom-fixed and floating offshore wind.  Equinor’s present goal is to expand its renewables capacity to 4-6 GW by 2026 and 12-16 GW by 2035, via projects in the North Sea, Baltic Sea and the US, while also pursuing other growth options.

The transaction with BP is expected to close in early 2021, pending purchase price adjustments and authority approvals.

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