Equinor’s big bet on wind will rival major oil projects

Source: press release, 24 September 2019

Total investments for Equinor-operated projects (source: Rystad Energy ServiceCube, research and analysis)
Total investments for Equinor-operated projects (source: Rystad Energy ServiceCube, research and analysis)

The offshore wind project Dogger Bank in the UK North Sea will not only be Equinor’s largest project through 2026, it will also rank as the sixth largest offshore development project in the world during this period, according to Rystad Energy.

UK authorities announced on Friday that Equinor and joint venture partner SSE have been chosen to develop the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Dogger Bank, with an expected USD 11 billion in capital investments from 2020-2026.

“Equinor’s mega offshore wind investment promises hope for a deflated service industry. An eleven-digit investment program – a rare occurrence within the offshore oil and gas industry – is entirely unprecedented in the offshore wind space,” says Audun Martinsen, head of oilfield services research at Rystad Energy.

To put the investment into context, Rystad Energy ranked all offshore development projects globally by total investments. Looking at Equinor’s current portfolio, Dogger Bank will rank as number one for the period from 2000 to 2026, above the yet-to-be-sanctioned oil projects Carcara in Brazil and Rosebank in the UK. In the global world of offshore, the Dogger Bank investments will rival key Brazilian deepwater oil projects such as Mero and Lula.

The total value of awarded offshore greenfield oil and gas contracts to EPCI – engineering, procurement, construction, and installation – and subsea providers in 2019 is expected to be around USD 60 billion, a number we anticipate could fall to USD 43 billion in 2022.

“The influx of offshore wind contracts worth billions of dollars will be welcomed with open arms by marine contractors. Many anticipate challenging times ahead given the uncertain outlook for offshore oil and gas developments. Order intake is expected to struggle in the early 2020s due to the increasing market share of shale and OPEC oil, and the consequentially reduced oil prices,” Martinsen remarks.

Equinor hopes to become the world’s largest offshore wind operator. In July, it won a major project off the coast of New York which represents another USD 3 billion of potential investments. An additional four projects, totalling around 7.4 GW in capacity, are also up for sanctioning in the 2020s.

“Equinor’s offshore wind master plan could hold the key to reversing this trend, as other operators rally behind the standard-bearer to put wind in the sails of the offshore industry,” Martinsen adds.