Scotland’s pioneering INTOG leasing round to lower emissions from offshore oil & gas using floating wind power offers a unique path into renewables for hydrocarbons players with no previous exposure to clean energy, says a new report on the upcoming process.

INTOG (Innovation and Targeted Oil & Gas) will aim to spur up to 4GW of offshore wind to power existing fossil fuel assets, and a further 500MW in a separate ‘pot’ of sub-100MW developments linked to areas such as green hydrogen.

The round – which expects to open for bidding in June this year – could play a crucial role in the wider development of offshore wind by drawing in oil & gas developers and supply chain companies with “little or no renewable energy experience, using INTOG as an opportunity to establish themselves in the renewables market”, said the study by specialist consultancy Natural Power commissioned by seabed landlord Crown Estate Scotland.

“INTOG provides an ideal opportunity for O&G developers to optimise the benefits of floating offshore wind when coupled with oil and gas platforms and processes,” said the report.

Oil & gas majors such as Shell, TotalEnergies and Equinor are already heavily involved in floating wind, but the hydrocarbons industry is expected to flock to the sector in greater numbers as it gather pace and offers a new outlet for deepwater offshore engineering experience.

Although far smaller than Scotland’s giant ScotWind leasing round, which awarded a potential 25GW of development seabed earlier this year, the Natural Power highlights a range of features of the round that differentiate it from its larger sibling and could make it attractive to project backers.

They include the potential to operate independently of the grid, with an oil & gas asset taking 100% of the power generated by turbines, removing the costs and delays associated with a network connection, and the option to trial innovative technology at a smaller scale ahead of potential huge deployment in ScotWind.

Colin Palmer, director marine at Crown Estate Scotland, said: “INTOG leasing creates a very attractive opportunity for operators and developers to progress a just transition and help meet the challenging decarbonisation targets set by industry and government.

“This report highlights how INTOG provides a way for oil and gas operators to not only meet decarbonisation targets, but also to establish themselves in offshore renewables. By bringing together these sectors, new jobs can be created and new low carbon innovation supported.”