Total is discussing potential partnerships to build offshore wind in China, its global renewable energy chief confirmed, as development giant China Three Gorges (CTG) revealed it has met the French oil supermajor for talks over joint development.

Total’s president for gas, renewables and power Philippe Sauquet told Recharge: “We are very much aware that [China] is a key market for energy worldwide. Yes we have a ambition to develop there [in offshore wind].”

Sauquet spoke as CTG revealed in a statement that it met Total’s China renewables and power chief Marc de Lataillade for “in-depth exchanges on business cooperation in offshore wind power projects”.

The meeting included discussion of floating offshore wind, CTG added. The Chinese developer is preparing to pioneer floating technology off Gaungdong province with a pilot project due for installation next year, while Total itself has already put down a marker in Asian floating wind with a stake in 2GW of projects off South Korea.

Sauquet declined to comment specifically on CTG but confirmed general discussions are underway over Total’s potential entry to the Chinese offshore wind sector, adding to an existing partnership with Envision in distributed solar.

“We are in China in our traditional business. We could consider to partner with the oil & gas companies that are our historical partners, PetroChina, CNOOC, we know all these guys. Some of them already have an appetite to develop in renewables.”

Total may also look for partnerships with power utilities or developers, Sauquet confirmed during a wide-ranging interview with Recharge on the oil giant’s renewable energy plans, under which it expects to have interests in 3GW of operating renewables in China by 2025 out of a global target of 35GW.

Like its onshore wind sector, the Chinese offshore market is dominated by local developers and equipment suppliers, which are currently racing to build 40GW of projects eligible for subsidies before support is phased out at the end of 2021, although only a fraction of that will actually be completed.

However, the country’s massive growth ambitions for offshore wind – it is soon poised to become the world’s second-largest market behind only the UK – has left Chinese players open to forging partnerships with foreign groups to tap expertise, investment or both.

Total’s power utility compatriot EDF this year finalised a pioneering offshore wind investment by a western firm when it took a stake in 500MW of offshore wind off Jiangsu Province.