Two oil companies to explore floating offshore wind opportunities in South Korea

State-run Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC) and Norwegian oil major Equinor have decided to jointly enter into the offshore wind market in South Korea.

Hywind Scotland floating offshore wind turbines. (Photo: Øyvind Gravås / Woldcam – Equinor ASA)

Equinor said on Friday that South Korea was pursuing a transition in the energy mix from nuclear and coal, to renewable energy.

The companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly explore opportunities to develop commercial floating offshore wind in South Korea.

The Norwegian company added that the proportion of renewable energy in power generation was set to increase to 20% by 2030; which translates to a target of 49GW of new renewable generation capacity by 2030.

Equinor is the operator of the Hywind floating offshore wind farm off the UK, the world’s first full-scale commercial facility of its kind. In the UK, Equinor also operates Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon offshore wind farms. Together with the Arkona windfarm in Germany, owned jointly with EON, these windfarms provide renewable power to more than 1,000,000 homes in Europe.

Stephen Bull, senior vice president for wind and low carbon in Equinor’s New Energy Solutions business, said: “South Korea has large potential and offers attractive opportunities within offshore wind. We look forward to evaluate how we can further expand our portfolio within offshore wind and contribute to develop renewable energy solutions in South Korea.”

As a government-owned company, KNOC has a mandate to ensure South Korea’s energy security. Supporting the South Korean government’s ambition of renewable energy, KNOC is launching a new business by developing floating offshore wind, building on their offshore development experiences.

KNOC is looking to develop a 200 MW floating offshore wind project at its existing Donghae platform 58 kilometers off the coast of Ulsan City.

Jae-Heon Shim, senior vice president at KNOC, added: “Executing an MoU with Equinor will become a critical opportunity that will advance to practical steps of floating offshore wind in Korea. We plan to actively focus on progress and de-risking studies including feasibility studies in collaboration with Equinor.”

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