Oil supermajor Shell has joined an alliance with Norwegian power groups Lyse and BKK to jointly bid into the Nordic country’s upcoming offshore wind round, the latest global energy giant to pile into the pioneering tender.

The trio plan to put in for acreage in both the deep- and shallow-water zones that are being offered up by Oslo in line with the aim of unlocking 4.5GW of initial capacity in Norwegian waters.

Shell’s entry into the Norway round comes days after fellow international oil company BP threw its hat into the ring. Other big hitters such as Orsted, Equinor and Eni also have announced plans to bid.

Hessel de Jong, head of Shell’s European offshore wind business, said: “We see Norway as an interesting area both to ensure Europe enough renewable electric power and to develop floating offshore wind solutions that can become commercial.

“Also from a global perspective, we see Lyse and BKK as valuable partners with expertise in hydropower and grid solutions.”

The partnership will pursue projects in the Utsira North zone where floating wind deployments will be needed, and the southern Sorlige Nordsjo 2 where fixed-foundation projects are expected to dominate.

The Norwegian government has said it expects the southern projects to be developed subsidy-free, while the floating projects are likely to enjoy support. Norway hopes to launch the tender late this year and early next.

Hydropower connection

Lyse CEO Eimund Nygaard said: “We have not tied ourselves to a specific supplier of technology. Our projects will provide great opportunities for the Norwegian supplier industry. The Norwegian supplier industry is world-class in terms of innovation, quality and safety requirements.

“The market for offshore wind is growing strongly globally, and we want to contribute to the Norwegian supplier industry being able to create a competitive advantage in the world.”

Jannicke Hilland, CEO of BKK, said offshore wind and Norwegian hydropower would “complement each other perfectly” and also support decarbonisation of existing offshore oil & gas operations.

“The North Sea has one of the best wind resources in the world. When this produces, we can hold back the water in our reservoirs. In calm periods, we can cover the demand for power by phasing in hydro-production.

“We wish to contribute to the electrification of the oil & gas industry and connect the offshore wind potential of the Southern North Sea to relevant markets in Europe. The interaction between offshore wind and hydropower will be an advantage for us,” Hilland added.

Shell has been an early mover in the floating wind sector, buying French pioneer Eolfi in 2019 and joining the partnership commercialising the TetraSpar platform designed by Stiesdal Offshore Technology.

The oil & gas giant also has experience of the fixed-bottom market off the Netherlands, where it has participated in successful tender bids, and is active in the emerging US offshore wind sector.