Developer Source Galileo and offshore drilling contractor spin-out Odfjell Oceanwind have inked a lead-off agreement to cooperate on the construction of floating wind-powered oil & gas decarbonisation projects off Norway.

The deal, at the memorandum of understanding stage, is based around use of Odfjelll’s innovative mobile offshore wind unit (MOWU) on future projects, with the pair planning to bid under the UtsiraVind banner for a lease in the upcoming auctions in the deepwater Utsira Nord zone.

“Over the last years we have, together with our partners, matured solutions and supply chains for floating wind with primary focus on electrification of oil & gas installations,” said Odfjell Oceanwind CEO Per Lund.

“Discussions [with several developer consortia] have confirmed that our solutions are suitable and attractive for floating wind [farms] in general.”

Lund called the cooperation with Source Galileo, which has an offshore wind portfolio that includes assets off the UK, Ireland and Norway, “a perfect combination of Norwegian technologies [and] international development and industrial execution capabilities”.

Gunnar Birkeland, CEO of the Norwegian arm of Source Galileo – a joint venture between Source Energie and Galileo, said: “Odfjell’s experience in designing, building and operating floating structures in the North Sea combined with our offshore wind development and finance competences make our partnership a very strong one.

Odfjell’s Deepsea Semi MOWU – a steel semisubmersible design engineered for use in stand-alone floating wind farms as well as electrification of offshore oil & gas installations – was recently awarded its key ‘scantling approval’ by DNV based on an integrated model using an 11MW Siemens Gamesa11.0-200DD turbine.

Last October, the company inked a deal with operator Okea and utility TrønderEnergi to size up use its concept to help decarbonise operations at the Draugen oil & gas field off Norway.

Floating wind power-connected oil & gas operations are not a new concept. A pioneering project called Win-Win was launched in 2013 but met with a mixed reaction in the energy industry, with pragmatists seeing it as a means to reducing emissions from ageing petroleum assets while further field-proving floating wind technology, while purists viewed it as a gateway to the ‘dirtification’ of wind.

Global markets have in the interim shifted opinion with Norwegian energy giant Equinor having built Hywind Tampen, an 95MW floating wind array wired into the Snorre-Gullfaks complex in the North Sea, and announced plans for a 1GW project called Trollvind.

There are also projects now bubbling away for similar schemes in off Europe, in the US Gulf, off Southeast Asia and even off Canada.