Slipforming of the 11 floating wind platforms for Equinor’s pioneering NKr5bn ($490m) Hywind Tampen project is now complete, with the units ready to be mated to their turbines and installed at the giant Snorre Gullfaks oil & gas complex off Norway.

Fitted with 8MW Siemens Gamesa turbines, the spar units, built by Aker Solutions at its Dommersnes construction site in Vindafjord using a concrete design developed in the offshore oil industry, will be used to part-power the ageing offshore oil field, reducing emissions from the project’s gas generators by a third.

Once online in the third quarter of 2022, the 88MW array will be the world’s first floating wind array linked to an offshore oil & gas field.

“This is a flagship project for us and our partners – and a new industry that is being built based on the competencies and experience we’ve acquired through decades on the Norwegian continental shelf,” said Equinor in a LinkedIn post.

Equinor built the first pure-play floating wind farm, the 30MW Hywind Scotland started up in 2017, and this latest project is seen a stepping stone to development of utility-scale arrays of 500MW and larger.

“It’s important for Equinor – and Norway – to be quick out of the gates in floating wind,” said the transitioning oil company. “A full 80% of the global offshore wind resources that can be produced will be produced with floating farms, as the water is too deep in many areas for bottom fixed-foundation wind turbines.”

Several pioneering projects that aim to use floating wind to decarbonise oil & gas operations off Europe have been launched since Hywind Tampen, including developer Cerulean Wind’s ambitious scheme to use 3GW of floating wind off Scotland to decarbonise more than half the emissions being produced by oil & gas operations in the central and northern UK North Sea.

Oil & gas drilling contractor Odfjell recently spun-out a unit named Odfjell Oceanwind that aims to use floating wind unit ranging in size from 1MW-11MW to decarbonise offshore hydrocarbons production.

Meanwhile, the Scottish government has kicked off a new consultation with industry to explore weaving in floating wind-powered oil projects around its sector marine plan for the ScotWind leasing round, as part of the country’s push toward wider net zero goals.