Oil & gas player BW Offshore hailed the “unlimited potential” of floating wind as it prepared to steer sector pioneer Ideol to a new growth phase.

BW Offshore, a long-established Oslo-based specialist in floating platforms and vessels for the fossil industry, claimed it has the international reach and project execution capability to take Ideol – rebranded as BW Ideol – to “global champion” status following its €60m ($72m) investment in the French group.

“These are two very complimentary businesses,” said BWO Offshore CEO Marco Beenen, pointing to his company’s track record at 40 large-scale oil & gas projects.

Beenen said the group had chosen Ideol as its entry point to the renewables sector because “floating wind is the most scalable renewable energy source”, with the potential for larger turbines and mass deployment of platforms.

“It basically has unlimited potential to expand,” Beenen told journalists following news of BW Offshore’s investment, which will see it aim to retain a roughly 50% stake in BW Ideol following a planned market listing in March.

Beenen cited estimates that up to 80% of global offshore wind theoretical potential lies beyond 60 metres of water depth, beyond the range of bottom-fixed turbines.

The BW Offshore CEO said with his company’s project resources and Ideol’s technology, plus added financial heft following the listing, the rebadged entity would be able to “position ourselves in the supplier and EPCI role… but we also have the ability to team up in consortia, taking a leading role in developing projects all the way to operation”.

“We think we can grow the valuation of this company rapidly,” Beenen said.

Early mover to market leader

Ideol CEO Paul de la Guérivière said the deal with BW Offshore would “transform the early mover position of Ideol into a market leader”.

The French pioneer’s platforms are ready to support 20MW mega-sized wind turbines, while it can drive down costs by industrialising production and deployment as projects scale-up, added De la Guérivière.

He said the new BW Ideol aims to be involved in 10GW of projects by 2030, building on positions it has already established in key floating wind power markets such as France, Japan, Scotland and California, naming others such as Spain, Greece, South Korea and Taiwan as of growing interest.

Floating wind markets are on the verge of explosive growth globally with analysts expecting a near-1,000-fold expansion of the current embryonic fleet as international supply chains take shape to support development of commercial-scale projects around the world, including in key markets in Europe’s northern seas, the US Pacific and off Asia Pacific, where DNV GL believe half of the 260GW of worldwide floating wind forecast will be turning by 2050.