Skip to main content
//empty //empty

The Burbo Bank Offshore Wind Farm operates at sea near New Brighton, England, on March 13, 2019.

PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images

BP entered the offshore wind market on Thursday with a $1.1 billion deal to buy 50 per cent stakes in two U.S. developments from Norway’s Equinor, a significant step by the oil firm towards its energy transition goals.

The British oil and gas company has set itself a target of increasing its renewable power generation capacity 20 fold over the coming decade to 50 gigawatts (GW).

As part of the deal, BP and Equinor also agreed to form a partnership to develop other offshore wind projects in the United States, Dev Sanyal, BP’s head of gas and low carbon energy, told Reuters.

Story continues below advertisement

European oil firms are under pressure from activists, banks, investors and some governments to shift away from fossil fuels and analysts say offshore wind farms are probably the quickest way for them to scale up.

The deal includes the Empire Wind project off New York and Beacon Wind off Massachusetts, which could together generate up to 4.4 GW – enough power for more than two million homes.

The Empire project is expected to start operations in the mid-2020s, Equinor’s renewables chief Pal Eitrheim told Reuters.

Equinor will be the operator of the two projects and BP staff will join the development and construction phases as part of the two companies' partnership to develop both bottom-fixed and floating offshore wind facilities, he added.

Equinor expects to book capital gains of roughly $1 billion from the transaction, an executive at the state-controlled firm told Reuters.

“It confirms that our strategy to get early access to the U.S. coast was right and it created the value,” Equinor’s head of renewable energy Paal Eitrheim said.

The $1.1 billion deal, which does not include development spending, is expected to close in early 2021.

Story continues below advertisement

BP already has a large onshore wind business in the United States with a capacity of around 1.7 GW, but has refrained in the past from entering the offshore wind market.

The deal challenges any assumption that renewable projects can’t offer returns on the scale offered by oil and gas, and is likely to increase the market’s confidence in Equinor’s offshore wind business, Sparebank 1 Markets analyst Teodor Sveen-Nilsen said.

Empire Wind phase 1 secured an offtake agreement last year and will have between 60 and 80 turbines.

Be smart with your money. Get the latest investing insights delivered right to your inbox three times a week, with the Globe Investor newsletter. Sign up today.

Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies