BP’s head of offshore wind claimed its entry yesterday (Tuesday) to the South Korean offshore wind market and an imminent recruitment campaign prove market talk of the oil & gas giant cooling on the sector are wide of the mark.
Matthias Bausenwein – BP’s senior vice president of offshore wind, who joined last year from sector pioneer Orsted – denied there had been a downscaling of ambition since he made the move to lead the UK-based supermajor’s global push.
“Today we’re talking about entering a new market for offshore wind. I think that should help [make clear] our ambitions,” Bausenwein told Recharge, referring to BP’s swoop for a 55% stake in 6GW of projects being developed off South Korea by Deep Wind Offshore (DWO).
Bausenwein also revealed BP will in the next few days launch a global recruitment campaign to add 100 to its offshore wind team, which currently stands at 200 and is slated to eventually grow to 800 – and is still in the process of filling the key role of head of floating wind.
“We have a lot of engineering talent in BP but we have a lot of roles to fill,” he said.
Amid reports that the supermajor was easing back its enthusiasm for renewables investments, BP chief executive Bernard Looney last week said the group would produce more oil for longer than previously expected.
While analysts said that did not in itself equate to a narrowing of its renewables ambitions, the lower returns on offer in green power would see a shift in focus to projects that can deliver as part of an integrated value chain, for example linked to green hydrogen production or EV charging.
Bausenwein claimed that was the plan all along and one of the reasons he wanted to join BP. “It’s different in a positive way [from] the usual game in renewables,” he said.
“Integration is [another] name for being more competitive and standing out as a company in an energy transition which requires us to really come out with a more portfolio approach, not least on the hydrogen side.”
BP has already taken major positions in the UK and US, signaled its ambitions in Germany and formed a joint venture for potential development in Japan.
Floating on the books
The South Korean deal also gives BP its first definitive position in floating wind, with some of the DWO projects in deep waters suitable for floating platforms. Bausenwein said “the bottom-fixed will come first and the floating will follow, that is I think the right thing to do in a new market and new technology.
“It’s great we have a tangible [floating] activity in the portfolio now, but you’ll see more.”
The BP offshore wind chief said new challenges had emerged, not least in terms of pressure on the supply chain, since he made the move from Orsted, where he was Asia Pacific head for the Danish group.
He said he is “sure the sector will consolidate” as projects and demands on investments get larger, but Bausenwein said he saw some signs of more encouraging trends in the inflation that has caused havoc to the industry over the last 18 months.
BP grew its net renewables pipeline by 14GW to 37.2GW in 2022 and said it expects to see 50GW advanced to final investment decision by 2030 with around 10GW installed capacity by then.