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Total joins oil rush to offshore wind with Orsted link-up

French oil and gas group joins Danish offshore wind giant in consortium vying for Dunkirk capacity off France

Total joined the growing list of oil giants vying for a role in the offshore wind sector by linking with global pacesetter Orsted in a bid for up to 600MW of capacity up for grabs off France.

Total and Orsted have formed a consortium with Elicio, a French renewables group already prequalified for the Dunkirk tender that is seen as crucial in restarting France’s stalled offshore wind ambitions.

The entry of Total in the Dunkirk tender – due to be awarded in the second half of 2019 – is the first attempt by the oil and gas giant to break into the offshore wind sector.

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Total is already a major player in the solar sector – including control of the US PV manufacturer SunPower – and over the last two years in the onshore wind industry via its Total Eren unit.

It joins a list of global oil majors carving out positions in offshore wind that includes Shell – also a bidder in the Dunkirk tender – Norway’s Equinor, Petrobras in Brazil and recently CNOOC of China.

The consortium with Orsted links it with the world’s largest offshore wind developer.

Philippe Sauquet, president gas, renewables and power at Total, said: "Total's participation in this offshore wind bid is in line with our strategy to develop low-carbon electricity business in Europe.

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“Our recognised offshore oil and gas know-how combined with Orsted market-leading expertise across the offshore wind energy value chain, as well as that of Elicio, an experienced developer qualified from the beginning of the bid, provide a solid foundation for success of a safe and competitive project.”

Others vying for the Dunkirk capacity include E-mail a consortium of Eneco, Boralex, Van Oord and Mitsubishi, Sweden’s Vattenfall, and French energy giants EDF and Engie.

Dunkirk is designed to accelerate France’s offshore wind build-out, which saw its initial projects stall amid regulatory delays and disputes over the tariff offered.

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