Oil and gas supermajor BP this week held talks with offshore wind industry players ahead of a potential entry to the sector, with the US market its favoured option, Recharge has learned.
The UK-based oil giant’s Alternative Energy development manager Anya Hoff held discussions over potential partnerships during the Global Offshore Wind event in London, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Recharge understands that BP is still weighing the options for its first foray into offshore wind, but is especially interested in opportunities in the fast-emerging sector in the US, where its existing onshore wind power operation is based.
Unlike European peers such as Shell, Total and Equinor, BP has no presence in offshore wind, although it owns a significant onshore fleet in the US and is active in solar via its Lightsource BP development unit.
Oil and gas groups are increasingly seen as a key part of the future offshore wind landscape, thanks to the heft of their balance sheets and associated strengths in areas such as offshore engineering.
Hoff – who in 2017 oversaw BP’s $200m investment in Lightsource that marked its reentry to the solar business – told a company blog earlier this year that the “possibilities of offshore wind” were on her agenda, adding that “I think floating turbine technology is exciting”.
BP CEO Bob Dudley said last year that the company was becoming “more interested” in offshore wind thanks to improving technology and falling costs in the sector.
Any move into offshore wind would mean the oil group was engaged with all three main renewable power sources – onshore and offshore wind, and solar PV – and complete a return to clean energy it first unsuccessfully attempted under the ‘Beyond Petroleum’ strategy of former CEO John Browne.
The oil group has faced growing pressure from activists over its role in fuelling climate change, and from investors keen to see it prepare for the energy transition.
Invited by Recharge to comment on this week's discussions, Hoff said: “We’re developing our renewables business and looking at a broad range of opportunities. We want to invest in the right opportunities at the right time so we’re constantly exploring those opportunities.
“This includes attending many industry conferences and speaking to other participants in the sector. We do not comment on future partnerships.”