Government urged to fast-track floating wind and hydrogen scheme

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Cerulean Winds plans to accelerate the decarbonisation of oil and gas assets through an integrated 200-turbine floating wind and hydrogen development that would reduce emissions and create jobs

The £10bn proposed green infrastructure play would have the capacity to abate 20 million tonnes of CO2  through North Sea projects West of Shetland and in the Central North Sea.

The venture is now calling on UK and Scottish governments to make an ‘exceptional’ case to deliver an ‘extraordinary’ outcome for the economy and the environment.

A formal request for seabed leases has been submitted to Marine Scotland.

Cerulean Winds is led by serial entrepreneurs Dan Jackson and Mark Dixon, who have more than 25 years’ experience working together on large-scale offshore infrastructure developments in the oil and gas industry.

They believe the risk of not moving quickly on basin-wide decarbonisation would wholly undermine the objectives set out in the recent North Sea Transition Deal.

Cerulean estimates that the current 160,000 oil and gas jobs can be safeguarded and 200,000 new roles within the floating wind and hydrogen sectors will be created within the next five years.

The Cerulean leadership has Tier 1 contractors in place to deliver the UKCS backbone development and has engaged the financial markets for a fully-funded infrastructure construct.

The proposed development involves:

  • Over 200 of the largest floating turbines at sites West of Shetland and in the Central North Sea with 3GW per hour of capacity, feeding power to the offshore facilities and excess 1.5 GW per hour power to onshore green hydrogen plants.
  • Ability to electrify the majority of current UKCS assets as well as future production potential from 2024 to reduce emissions well ahead of abatement targets.
  • 100% availability of green power to offshore platforms at a price below current gas turbine generation through a self-sustained scheme with no upfront cost to operators.
  • The development of green hydrogen at scale and £1bn hydrogen export potential.
  • No subsidies or CFD requirements and hundreds of millions of pounds to government revenue via leases and taxation through to 2030.

Cerulean has undertaken the necessary infrastructure planning for the scheme to ensure the required level of project readiness, targeting financial close in Q1 2022.

Construction would start soon after with energisation commencing in 2024.

Corporate finance advisors to the energy industry Piper Sandler are also advising.

Homegrown energy security

Dan Jackson, founding director of Cerulean Winds, said: “The UK is progressing the energy transition, but a sense of urgency and joined-up approach is required to enable rapid decarbonisation of oil and gas assets or there is a risk of earlier decommissioning and significant job losses.

“Emissions are quite rightly no longer acceptable, but with emissions penalties and taxes coming, the UK oil and gas industry’s role in homegrown energy security during the transition could be threatened unless current decarbonisation efforts can be greatly speeded up.

“The consequences of not moving quickly enough will be catastrophic for the economy and the environment.”

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