Equinor and bp have completed their previously announced transaction including bp’s $1.1 billion purchase from Equinor of a 50% interest in two major lease areas off the US East Coast. The transaction is the first step in a strategic partnership between the two energy companies to team up for offshore wind projects in the U.S.
The new partnership will initially develop up to 4.4GW through two projects – Empire Wind and Beacon Wind – and together pursue further growth in the U.S. offshore wind market. Equinor will remain the operator of the projects in these leases through the development, construction and operations phases, and the wind farms will be equally staffed in operations.
On January 13 the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced that Equinor and bp had been selected to provide New York State with offshore wind power in one of the largest renewable energy procurements in the U.S. to date. Under the award, Equinor and bp will provide a generation capacity of 1,260 megawatts (MW) of renewable offshore wind power from Empire Wind 2, and a further 1,230 MW of power from Beacon Wind 1. When added to the existing commitment to provide New York with 816 MW of renewable power from Empire Wind 1 this totals 3.3 gigawatts (GW) of power. The execution of the procurement award is subject to the successful negotiation of a purchase and sale agreement, which the partnership looks forward to finalizing together with NYSERDA.
Dev Sanyal, bp’s executive vice president of gas and low carbon energy, said: “We see significant opportunities by rapidly growing bp’s offshore wind business, making a major contribution to our strategic goals and developing assets that will provide long-term, stable returns.
“Partnering with Equinor, we look forward to developing these world-class assets in the fastest-growing energy sector. We will work with communities and authorities in New York to develop a leading offshore wind industry hub, including the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal and the Port of Albany. The partnership will continue to identify new opportunities elsewhere in the US and is committed to providing people with the energy they need in the way they want it.”
The Empire Wind lease area, awarded to Equinor in 2016, is 15-30 miles southeast of Long Island and has a total area of 80,000 acres. Its two phases of development have a potential generation capacity of 2GW. The Beacon Wind lease area covers a total area of 128,000 acres, approximately 20 miles south of Nantucket and 60 miles east of Montauk Point. When fully developed its two phases are expected to have a total generating capacity of 2.4GW.