TotalEnergies SE is weighing taking a stake in what will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, according to people familiar with the matter, as the French oil major continues to flex its green credentials.
Paris-listed TotalEnergies could buy a roughly 20 per cent stake in the third phase of the Dogger Bank wind project in the North Sea, which is being developed by U.K.-listed SSE plc and Norway’s Equinor ASA, the people said.
Deliberations are ongoing, and no final decisions on the size of any stake purchase have been made, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing confidential information.
Offshore wind farms have become coveted assets among investors and energy companies looking to buy into the transition away from fossil fuels. The 3.6-gigawatt Dogger Bank project will provide enough low carbon power for up to 6 million U.K. homes when it completes later this decade.
SSE and Equinor have divided the project into three 1.2-gigawatt sections and last year sold a combined 20 per cent stake in the first two phases to Italian oil company Eni SpA for 405 million pounds ($563 million). The two firms are each expected to sell 10 per cent in the third phase, Bloomberg News reported in March.
A representative for TotalEnergies declined to comment. A representative for SSE declined to comment on specific deals, saying that, as previously stated, the group expects to make progress on the sale this year.
“We have previously said that divestment is part of our strategy to create value and return within offshore wind,” said a spokesman for Equinor, who also declined to comment on specific deals.
As well as being an attractive way to rapidly build low-carbon generation portfolios, giant wind farms also allow oil companies to leverage their decades of experience working at sea.
TotalEnergies has had the fastest start in the race between Europe’s oil supermajors to achieve net-zero carbon emissions, having acquired the most renewable electricity for its portfolio, Bloomberg News reported previously. Last year, it bought into another SSE offshore wind farm with a 70 million-pound investment in the Seagreen 1 in Scotland, a deal that marked its first significant foray into such assets.
Its rivals have made similar moves. BP plc last year took a $1.1 billion stake in two development-stage wind farms in the U.S., while Royal Dutch Shell plc won the rights alongside Eneco NV to develop a zero-subsidy project off the coast of the Netherlands.
Shares in TotalEnergies have risen 11.3 per cent in the last 12 months, giving it a market value of about 99.5 billion euros ($118 billion).
© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.