Oil & gas supermajor Total is in the running to buy a stake in the 1.1GW Seagreen offshore wind project off Scotland that’s among the largest being developed in the UK, according to reports.

The French group is among the final bidders to join UK utility SSE in Seagreen, which will require investments above $7bn to build and operate, according to financial newswire Bloomberg which cited unnamed sources familiar with the process.

A stake in Seagreen would mark the entry of Total into UK offshore wind, a move flagged up by the group’s CEO last year when he specifically raised the prospect of entering the next rounds of leasing for new acreage off the nation’s coasts, for projects entering service towards the end of the decade.

Buying into Seagreen, which is already well advanced and has lined up MHI Vestas to supply its first phase, could mean the oil & gas group had turbines operating as soon as 2024.

Total – which has already bid for offshore wind capacity in its home market – is among a clutch of oil & gas groups staking a claim in the sector, with Shell and Equinor the most active in the market to date. Shell this week unveiled plans for the world’s largest single offshore wind build at 10GW to power green hydrogen production in the Netherlands.

SSE has owned 100% of Seagreen since buying out former 50/50 joint venture partner Fluor, the US EPC giant, in 2018.

Seagreen has a UK government contract for difference (CfD) power deal for 454MW of its planned 1,075MW, and SSE has said it is exploring financing options that will allow it to advance the full build-out, raising the prospect of a major chunk of the turbines operating outside government support mechanisms.

Seagreen, which is sited some 27km offshore in water depths of 35-70m, was awarded to SSE Renewables by the UK Crown Estate in 2010 as part the country’s Round 3 auction and consented in October 2014, but further development was waylaid until November 2017 due to an ultimately unsuccessful legal challenge by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Contractor Petrofac and cable giant Nexans have already won contracts to equip the project.

Total told Recharge it does not comment on market rumours. SSE has been contacted for comment.