Equinor hailed another milestone for the floating wind sector after first power was exported from the Hywind Tampen project designed to help decarbonise oil and gas production in the Norwegian North Sea.

Hywind Tampen delivered its first electricity to the Gullfaks A platform on Sunday, said Equinor, adding that the project marks a debut for commercial-scale wind power off Norway and will be the world’s largest floating array so far.

The project is on course to install seven of its eleven turbines by the end of the year giving it an installed capacity of 60MW and outstripping the 50MW Kincardine off Scotland.

Addition of Hywind Tampen’s remaining four turbines was delayed by supply chain issues and they will be installed in 2023, taking the floating project to its full capacity of around 95MW.

Geir Tungesvik, Equinor’s executive vice president for projects, drilling and procurement, said: “This is a unique project, the first wind farm in the world powering producing oil and gas installations.

“The Norwegian content of the project is about 60%. This shows that we, together with our partners and suppliers, are building a new industry on the shoulders of the oil and gas business utilising the competencies we together have acquired over many decades.”

Tapping wind, including from floating turbines, as an alternative power source for offshore oil & gas is gathering traction around the world, with Scotland at the forefront with its INTOG leasing round that is set to spur multi-gigawatt installations.

Norway will be the site of further activity in its upcoming auction for deepwater acreage in Utsira Nord, where developer Source Galileo and offshore drilling contractor spin-out Odfjell Oceanwind have inked a lead-off agreement to cooperate to bid-in floating wind-powered oil & gas decarbonisation projects.

There are also projects now bubbling away for similar schemes in off Europe, in the US Gulf, off Southeast Asia and even off Canada.

Floating wind power-connected oil & gas operations are not a new concept. A pioneering project called Win-Win was launched in 2013 but met with a mixed reaction in the energy industry, with pragmatists seeing it as a means to reducing emissions from ageing petroleum assets while further field-proving floating wind technology, while purists viewed it as a gateway to the ‘dirtification’ of wind.